Monday, November 22, 2010

Root Vegetable Soup


A root vegetable soup is the most perfect way to start a Thanksgiving meal. It is very easy on the cook who has certainly got his or her hand's full with all the other dishes that make up this feast day. This soup is made entirely on the stove which frees up valuable oven space for other traditional goodies like the roast turkey and yummy pies. The best part is that it brings full flavor and warmth to your table while celebrating the ingredients of the season.

I learned to make this soup from my friend’s mother while I was staying with her family in England. The recipe simply calls for a couple of pounds worth of potato, rutabaga, carrot and parsnip. Garlic, onion, leek and celery also contribute to the tastiness of this soup. Each vegetable brings its own special hint of flavor to the pot.

Ingredients
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds/907 grams root vegetables (1 potato, 1 rutabaga, 1 parsnip, 2 carrots)
1 leek, green part only
1 yellow onion
4 garlic cloves
1 stalk of celery
8 cups of reduced sodium vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Black pepper, to taste
Table cream (15%), to serve (optional)

Wash, peel and trim all the vegetables. Cut each into medium-sized chunks. Rinse well between the layers of the leek and slice. Peel and slice the onion. With the flat side of your knife, smash the garlic, then peel and chop roughly. Wash the celery then slice.

Over medium heat, warm the oil in a large soup pot. Sauté the leek, onion and garlic for about 2 minutes before adding the rest of the vegetables. Sauté all for an additional 3 minutes. Add the stock, thyme and bay to the pot. Stir to combine. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce temperature to simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.

Once the vegetables are cooked, remove the bay leaves. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches with a regular blender. To serve, crack a pinch of black pepper over each bowl. Gently drizzle a little cream on top of the soup and draw a knife through the cream to create a pretty pattern.

Makes about 10 cups.

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These are some additional recipes culled from my blog to help make your Thanksgiving celebration successful and delicious.

Soups
North African roasted sweet potato soup
Smoky cauliflower and leek soup

Sides
Sautéed cabbage with pancetta and cranberries
Spaghetti squash with pancetta and arugula
Twice-baked sweet potatoes

Salads
Chickpea and corn salad
Lebanese-style tomato, cucumber and bell pepper salad
Southwest black-eyed pea salad

Or check out my Thanksgiving post from last year for more holiday ideas.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

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