Here’s the funny thing: As much as I liked the “Pumpkin Brownies with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting” from Betty Rosbottom’s new cookbook, I liked this soup recipe even better.
After all, the book by this food writer and cooking teacher is called, “Soup Nights” (Rizzoli).
Soup is the focus to be sure — every kind imaginable from “Creamy Smoked Trout and Cucumber Chowder” to “Vietnamese-Style Shrimp Soup” to “Icy-Cold Watermelon Soup with Whipped Feta and Mint.”
But what’s genius is that Rosbottom also includes recipes for salads, sandwiches and desserts to round out the soup meal.
Yes, I made the dessert first. But I actually baked it on the same day as I made her accompanying “Roasted Carrot, Parsnip & Garlic Soup” for dinner. She recommends her “Grilled Cheese Tartines” or “Toasted Baguette with Smoked Turkey, Prosciutto, Fontina, Garlic Mayo” for a full repast. I took a shortcut and just served the soup with grilled artisan bread drizzled with olive oil and blanketed with prosciutto, before diving into the pumpkin brownies.
I was prepared to like this easy vegetable soup. But I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did and want to make it a permanent addition to my winter repertoire.
You roast the parsnip and carrots alongside 10 unpeeled garlic cloves. The root veggies then go into a big soup pot with sauteed leeks and chicken stock.
The peeled, pasty-soft garlic gets blitzed in a blender with some of the soup veggies. That mixture is then poured back into the pot, giving the soup a nice body.
Don’t be scared by the hefty number of garlic cloves. This is in no way a sharp tasting soup that you’d only drink to ward off vampires.
The garlic is tamed in the roasting, bringing out its fabulous nuttiness instead. It adds a wonderful butteriness to the soup. The roasting also brings out the natural sweetness of the carrots and parsnips.
The result is a golden-orange soup that has way more flavor and depth than you would imagine.
It’s simply mmm mmm good.
Roasted Carrot, Parsnip & Garlic Soup
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3/4 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
10 large (1/2-3/4-inch wide) unpeeled garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups (about 3 medium) chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
4 cups chicken broth or stock, plus more if needed
Several sprigs fresh thyme for garnish, optional
Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have a large rimmed baking sheet ready.
Spread the carrots and parsnips in a single layer on the baking sheet, then arrange the garlic cloves together in a single layer separate from the vegetables on the sheet. Drizzle the vegetables and garlic with the olive oil and toss both with your hands to coat well. Combine 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl and sprinkle over the vegetables and garlic.
Roast the vegetables until the carrots and parsnips are golden brown around the edges and just-tender, and the garlic cloves are softened, 30 to 35 minutes. Stir the vegetables and garlic every 10 minutes while roasting to keep them from sticking to the pan. Remove from the oven when done.
When cool enough to handle, remove the garlic cloves from their skins and set aside.
In a large, heavy pot set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and saute, stirring until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the roasted carrots and parsnips, stir to coat, and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining teaspoon of thyme and the broth. Reduce heat, cover, and cook at a simmer until vegetables are very tender but still hold their shape, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove 3/4 cup of the vegetables and 1/4 cup of the liquid in the pot. Place in a food processor or blender along with the garlic and puree. Whisk it into the soup to thicken it slightly. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. (Soup can be prepared one day ahead; cook to this stage, then cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.)
Ladle soup into bowls, and if desired, garnish each serving with a sprig or two of fresh thyme.
From “Soup Nights” by Betty Rosbottom
More Soup Recipes to Enjoy: Cauliflower Soup with Aged Cheddar & Mustard Croutons