Rushing around the field picking radishes and greens. That’s what I did right before Hurricane Sandy shut us down for days. (By the way, the best way to store radishes is to separate the greens from the roots and store them separately. Otherwise, the leaves will pull the moisture out of the roots and they’ll both wilt. I was in such a hurry that I didn’t follow my own advice, but since I was making soup, it didn’t really matter.)
Now that we have both sunshine and power, I continued my clean-out of the freezer’s supply of chicken stock to make soup. It’s really important to stay on top of the temperature in your refrigerator and freezer during power outages so that you don’t inadvertently breed something that makes you sick. As much as I complain about my fussy electronic German fridge, the freezer temperature stayed below the freezing point for days. However, it was above the zero degrees I prefer, so the contents simply have to go.
I like cooked radishes, so it seemed to me that soup would be a natural and it was delicious. I used a mix of colors and braised them lightly with leeks before adding a potato and chicken stock. The potato is more for texture than taste. While I added a dash of cream, it would be fine without. Radishes lose their spiciness when cooked so I added grated raw radishes and slivers of the best radish leaves.
Creamy Radish Soup
1 leek, white and green parts only
3 bunches of radishes
1 medium-large white potato
2 tbsp butter
4 c chicken stock (or use vegetable broth)
¼ c heavy cream (optional)
Clean and trim the leek, slice it lengthwise and then crosswise. Clean and trim the radishes, reserving a few greens for garnish and the rest for another use if they’re tender. Set aside one or two radishes for grating into the soup and cut the remainder into a course dice. Peel and dice the potato.
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook them until translucent. Add the radishes and cook them slowly in the butter until they start to get tender. Add the potatoes and stir to coat them with the butter.
Add the chicken stock and a little salt. Simmer until the vegetables are very tender, approximately 30 minutes. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or mash it if you want it coarse in texture. Avoid the food processor or use it lightly since potatoes can become gummy if over-mixed. Add the cream if using, and adjust the salt.
Grate the reserved radish(es) and sliver the reserved radish leaves. Stir some into the soup and sprinkle some on top.