- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
- 3 ribs celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 8 to 10 cups chicken stock
- 3 pounds turnips, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces Smithfield ham or any country ham, julienned or finely diced
- 2 cups medium diced cornbread
- Drizzle of olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a 6-quart stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery. Season with salt and black pepper, stirring, until the vegetables are soft and lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Add the bay leaf and garlic, stirring for 2 minutes. Add 8 cups of the stock and turnips and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the turnips are very soft, about 1 hour. If the liquid reduces too much during cooking, add more as needed. Remove the soup from the heat. Discard the bay leaf. With a handheld blender, (or in a blender, in small batches), purée the soup until it's very smooth. Slowly add the cream. Stir to blend. Reseason the soup.
While the soup is cooking: In a small sauté pan, over medium heat, render the ham until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Toss the cornbread with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.
To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish the soup with the crispy ham and croutons.