Roasted Vegetable Soup & Homemade Croutons

23 Dec

The greatest delight of the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable.
I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me and I to them.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recipe source: Adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Family Style

Well, it’s official, we’re now two days into winter. And besides cold weather and Christmas just around the bend, what that mostly means for me is a bellyache from the overwhelming amount of cookies, cakes, pies, chocolates, fudge and what-have-you everywhere in my sight. Co-workers make them, friends give them, and it would be rude not to consume them… right? Since you might be facing this dilemma as well, I thought I’d supply you with a little detox.

Soup is always a comfort on a cold winter day, and easy to eat when you have a cold. This recipe is extremely variable and can be adjusted to use whatever vegetables are in season throughout the year. For now, it’s carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash.

The first time I made this recipe, I followed Ina Garten’s instructions to a tee, and wasn’t thrilled. It was too carrot-ey for me, and just overall bland.

roasted veggies

So, I halved the amount of carrots and added an eggplant.

roasted veggies

I also added a ton of flavor with my no-so-secret weapons, onion, garlic, and ginger. I think onions and garlic should appear in just about any savory dish, and especially soups, so I’m surprised Ina didn’t include them the first time around. (puzzled face)

onions, garlic, ginger

Regardless. To make this soup, you will chop the vegetables of your choice, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in a 425-degree oven for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, saute the onions, garlic, and ginger in a large soup pot, then transfer to a food processor and puree. When the vegetables come out of the oven, add them to the food processor and puree as well. How long you puree depends on the texture you like – I like my soup slightly chunky.

pouring stock

If you have a super-cool food processor with a pouring tube like this, slowly pour 3 cups of chicken or vegetable sock while the blade is spinning to keep the processor from jamming. If not, remove the lid and add your stock incrementally between pulses.

Just before serving, pour the mixture back into the pot and heat to warm.

Ina’s soup:
roasted vegetable soup

My soup:
roasted vegetable soup

This soup is delicious serve with some kind of bread. When I’m in a hurry, I like lightly toasted rosemary bread. In a major hurry, Breton crackers. But if I have a little more time, homemade croutons are wonderful… provided I can resist eating the oil and salt-soaked bread before toasting it! I like to use sourdough for this, but you can use any loaf you like.

sourdough loaf

Wishing you a warm and happy winter surrounded by those you love. xox

RECIPE – Roasted Vegetable Soup

2 carrots, peeled
1 parsnip, peeled
1 sweet potato, peeled
1 eggplant
1/2 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and seeded
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 white onion
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Brioche croutons, recipe follows
Good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the carrots, parsnip, sweet potato, eggplant, and butternut squash in 1- to 1 1/4-inch cubes. All the vegetables will shrink while baking, so don’t cut them too small.

Place all the cut vegetables in a large bowl or gallon-size freezer bag, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss well to coat. Spread vegetables in a single layer on 2 sheet pans. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a metal spatula.

Meanwhile, saute garlic and ginger in about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot for about 1 minute. Add in diced onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until onions are lightly browned. Transfer onion mixture to a food processor and puree.

In two batches, coarsely puree the roasted vegetables with the onion mixture, pouring in chicken or vegetable stock to aid the food processor as you go. Pour the pureed vegetables back into the soup pot and season, to taste. Thin with more stock if desired, and reheat. The soup should be thick but not like a vegetable puree, so add more stock and/or water until it’s the consistency you like. Serve with homemade croutons or crusty bread.

Serves 4

RECIPE – Homemade Croutons (skip if gluten-free)

1 12-ounce loaf of bread (sourdough, brioche, challah)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the bread about 3/4 inch thick. Cut off the crusts and then cut the slices in 3/4 inch dice. You should have 6 to 8 cups of croutons.

Place the croutons on a sheet pan and toss them with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing once, until they are nicely browned on all sides. Cool to room temperature before using and store in a sealed plastic bag.

Advertisements

4 Responses to “Roasted Vegetable Soup & Homemade Croutons”

  1. Jasmine December 23, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    Wow !! What a combination !! Pleasing to the eye, delicious to the taste buds and definately a healthy concoction that any physician would recommend.. An absolute winner !!!

    Jasmine

  2. Laura December 28, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    Good call on halving the carrots and adding eggplant. I’ve been watching a lot of episodes of Barefoot Contessa on Food Network and I got “Back to Basics” for Christmas and I’ve noticed that Ina Garten really, really, really loves carrots. Carrots are nice, but your version of that soup looks a lot more tasty.

  3. Jen December 29, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    Thanks! Yeah, I liked this one better than the one we made together. Much more savory with the onions and garlic.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Veggie Roundup! « Put a spork in it. - September 23, 2011

    […] Easy Breakfast Frittata 2. Jicama Slaw with Herbacious Spicy Lime Vinaigrette 3. Roasted Vegetable Soup 4. Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers 5. Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwich 6. Warm Red Lentil […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: