Cookbook author Diane Morgan returns to her 'Roots'

The Pittsburgh native is revisiting her roots to publicize "Roots: The Definitive Compendium With More Than 225 Recipes"

Pittsburgh native Diane Morgan is revisiting her roots to publicize her "Roots."

The Squirrel Hill-raised Ms. Morgan, now in Portland, Ore., is the author of "Roots: The Definitive Compendium With More Than 225 Recipes" for roots of every sort.

The hefty book, published last month by Chronicle, has a foreword by Deborah Madison.

Ms. Morgan is doing two local appearances where she'll sign copies of the book this week:

• From 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday she's teaching a hands-on cooking class at Crate in Scott: "From Cocktails to Dessert: The Delicious Underground World of Root Vegetables." Cost is $75 (

• From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, she'll do an author's lunch at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District. Chef Kevin Costa from Crested Duck Charcuterie will make lunch using her recipes, including Creamy Turnip Soup with Greens; Raw Beet Salad with Fennel, Tart Apple and Parsley; Rustic Apple and Rutabaga Tart; and Homemade Ginger Ale. Cost is $49 and includes a signed hardcover copy of "Roots," which retails for $40. Reservations are required; get tickets at

Ms. Morgan wrote 13 other cookbooks (all for Chronicle), including "The Thanksgiving Table," "The New Thanksgiving Table," "The Christmas Table" and "Skinny Dips," a couple of which we've written about in this section. She is a delight to talk with. She also teaches cooking; read more at

We'll write more about the new book in coming weeks. There are many recipes in it that would be excellent for Thanksgiving, including this one below.


PG tested

"In French cooking, a thick soup made from pureed vegetables is called a potage," writes Diane Morgan. "This soup is a potage, but because some cooks may not be familiar with the term, I chose to use the word creamy in the recipe title. The soup tastes rich and creamy, yet there isn't even a teaspoon of cream in the ingredients list. And because of that, the soup is quite low in calories and packed with nutrients. To make the lovely swirled garnish of pureed turnip greens, you'll need to buy a bunch of small snowy white turnips with their bushy tops still attached."

She notes, "The soup and garnish can be made up to 3 days in advance. Let the soup cool, transfer to a covered container and refrigerate. The garnish of pureed greens must be chilled quickly in order to preserve its bright green color. Transfer to a small bowl, place the bowl in an ice-water bath to cool, and then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm the soup and garnish just before serving."

This recipe is a keeper.

-- Bob Batz Jr.

  • 10 peppercorns
  • 4 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, white and light green part only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • Kosher or fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds turnips, peeled, trimmed, and diced
  • 1 medium russet potato, about 8 ounces, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup lightly packed chopped turnip greens

Cut an 8-inch square of cheesecloth and place the peppercorns, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves in the center. Bring up the edges to form a bag and tie securely with kitchen twine to make a bouquet garni. Set aside.

In a heavy soup pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat and swirl to coat the pan bottom. Add the onion, leeks, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stir briefly, and then cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are very soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add the bouquet garni to the pot along with the turnips, potato, and stock.

Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork and soft enough to puree, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat, discard the bouquet garni, and let the soup cool for about 10 minutes.

Working in batches, process the soup to a smooth puree in a blender or food processor. Return the pureed soup to the pot. If the soup seems too thick, add about 1/2 cup water to achieve a creamy consistency.

Add the nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Transfer 1/2 cup of the pureed soup to the blender or food processor. Add the turnip greens and process to a smooth puree. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Bring the soup to a simmer and ladle into warmed soup bowls. Using a large spoon, swirl some of the pureed turnip greens on the top of each serving and serve immediately.

Makes 7 cups; serves 6 to 8.

-- "Roots: The Definitive Compendium With More Than 225 Recipes" by Diane Morgan (Chronicle, $40)

Bob Batz Jr.: or 412-263-1930. First Published October 28, 2012 4:00 AM


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