Friday, September 25, 2009

Two-for-One: Roasted Winter Vegetables & Soup, with Kate’s Toasted Baguette with Gruyere

I love making soups year-round, but the root vegetables of fall and winter give way for making soups with a thick consistency, and adding nothing more than a little seasoning and broth. Roasting the vegetables caramelizes them, making them soft enough to quickly puree with some broth. I make soups with all different variations of root vegetables, and this Ina Garten recipe combines them all.

This recipe is really a two-for-one. The first part leaves you with a colorful and delicious side dish of roasted vegetables. You can leave them as is to serve along with an entrée , or puree them into a soup. This is a great soup to make in the cooler months of the year, but for some reason I also find myself craving this soup in the spring with a light salad.

This evening we ate this soup with a variation on a grilled cheese. The crusty baguette and gooey cheese are a great compliment to the warm hearty soup, and I like to dip pieces of the bread into my soup bowl. The splash of chardonnay on the baguette is a nice touch that adds another layer of flavor, and freshly ground black pepper adds a little kick.

Her recipe calls for chicken stock, however I use vegetable stock. I puree the soup with an immersion blender in the stock pot, rather than transferring to a food processor.

Roasted Winter Vegetables & Soup
(From Barefoot Contessa Family Style)

Roasted Vegetables:
1 pound carrots, peeled
1 pound parsnips, peeled
1 large sweet potato, peeled
1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and seeded
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 425° F degrees.

Cut the carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, 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 single layer on 2 sheet pans. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss well. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a metal spatula.

Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

Roasted Vegetable Soup:
3 to 4 cups vegetable stock
1 quart Roasted Winter Vegetables (see recipe above)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, heat 3 cups of vegetable stock. In 2 batches, coarsely puree the roasted vegetables and the vegetable stock in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pour the soup back into the pot and season, to taste. Thin with more vegetable stock and reheat. The soup should be thick but not like a vegetable puree, so add more vegetable stock and/or water until it's the consistency you like.

Kate’s Toasted Baguette with Gruyere
1 French baguette
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine (like chardonnay)
1 cup gruyere, grated
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F degrees.

Slice baguette into thirds, and then slice each section in half horizontally. Place baguette slices on a large baking sheet, cut side up. Drizzle bread with extra virgin olive oil. Bake in oven for approximately 6-8 minutes, until bread is crispy. Remove from oven.

Splash white wine over baguettes, sprinkle with gruyere, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Turn broiler on high, and toast baguettes until cheese is melted and bread is toasted (approximately 2-4 minutes). Serve immediately.

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