Sunday, December 9, 2012

Creamy Root Vegetable Soup

The only thing I can count on with my winter CSA is that I'm going to get a lot of squash and root vegetables. I'm always browsing for recipes that use up a lot of one vegetable, but once I'm done with I'm those, I'm often left with an assortment of small amount of vegetables that I'm not quite sure what to do with. The last bits of my first CSA box included parsnips, celeriac, carrots, potatoes, and leeks, so it seemed almost supernatural fortune to find this recipe that used up all my odds and ends. Although there's a lot going on root vegetable-wise in this soup, they all balance each other nicely. The carrots, celeriac, and leeks are a subtle variation on the classic mirepoix, with the parsnips adding a bit of zestiness and the potatoes body and creaminess. Blending the vegetables makes this hearty soup silky and infuses garlic and fresh herbs into every bite. Although the particular combination of root vegetables and herbs was especially delicious, this recipe is also an excellent template for experimentation. Between plates of indulgence at holiday celebrations, use this recipe to fill yourself with healthy vegetables and brilliant winter flavor.

Creamy Root Vegetable Soup
adapted from Food and Wine
serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small celery root, peeled and sliced 1/3 inch thick
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium red potato, cut into 1-inch dice
1 large leek, white and tender green, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock or canned low-sodium broth, defatted
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the parsnips, celery root, carrots, potato, leek, garlic, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of water. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables start to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the stock, cover the pan and reduce the heat to moderately low. Cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.

2. Transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. (Alternatively, blend the soup in the both with an immersion blender). Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the rosemary and serve.

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