Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Rooted in Place

It's going to be a busy week, and at times like this I tend to feel a little dazed and frenzied, looking for something to ground me and keep me steady.

Naturally, then, I would turn to the comfort of a thick, creamy soup loaded with good local vegetables!

I've raved about my roasted potato soup before, and I knew that was the sort of thing I wanted on a chilly night. But I also knew I needed more vitamins than I would get just from plain ol' potatoes (no matter how much I love them), so I sorted through my stores of roots and tubers and came up with a sweet potato or two, a couple of carrots, and a pair of parsnips to add to the lot.

I talked with a friend while I peeled and chopped the vegetables, and after an hour's worth of roasting in the oven (mingled with good local garlic, a splash of olive oil, and some thyme), the chunks of vegetables cooled before I added them to a pot of stock and pureed them into oblivion.

Such an easy way to get plenty of good vegetables for dinner! And with a comforting little toasted, buttered bagel on the side, this soup made me very content and helped me relax for the evening.

The rest of the week might be crazy, but for one night at least I'm sinking into my roots.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Please don't be picky and point out that this version is really "roots and tubers" as I'm aware of that. But since the original recipe (from the December 2000 issue of Vegetarian Times) was so versatile, I'm sure you could adapt it further to make it entirely based on root vegetables. Worth a try, anyway! Serving suggestions can vary from a glass of full-bodied red wine and a crisp salad to a simple chunk of hearty bread, so live it up as much as you like!

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used 6-8 fingerlings)
2 small to medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
6-10 cloves garlic, peeled (more if you like!)
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
4 c vegetable broth
Up to 1/2 c milk, half-and-half, or plain soy milk (NOT vanilla)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, and garlic in large baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with thyme, and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

In large saucepan, bring broth to simmer over medium-low heat. Add roasted vegetables. With an immersion blender, puree mixture until creamy. Add milk as needed to create desired consistency. Continue to cook until heated through, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Serve right away, or cool, refrigerate, and reheat when needed.

Serves 8


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