Saturday, January 2, 2010

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

I admit it--I went to bed early last night. Eleven, to be exact. I got off work early, but I was still too tired to stay up for midnight.

No matter. It was worth it to be up at 8 this morning and enjoy the quiet morning streets, strewn with snow and metallic confetti. Three pancakes (chocolate-peanut butter-banana pancakes), a soy hot chocolate, and a grocery trip later, Corey and I were home with tons of winter produce. Blood oranges, grapefruit, lemons, parsnips, turnips, and celery root, they are all working their way into this week's meals.

I received a beautiful cookbook from my dad this Christmas called (wait for it): Vegan Recipes by Nicola Graimes. Not the most inspiring title, but it is definitely going to be my favorite cookbook this year. Every recipe has step-by-step color photographs, and the region most prominently portrayed in the book is planet Earth. Morocco, Iran, Japan, Italy, Spain, they are all there, and more. And in the book is, you guessed it, Roasted Root Vegetable Soup.

I'm not using the recipe in the book, I'm just winging it, (this is in the present tense because the vegetables are roasting as we speak) honestly because I didn't think about making soup until I was in the grocery store with celery root and parsnips in my hands. I remembered the beautiful photograph in the book, and, well, I want to go to there.

I'd highly recommend Nicola Graimes' cookbook for new vegans, vegans who are new to cooking, and vegans who have every other vegan cookbook. Again, step-by-step color photographs of every recipe, a wide array of dishes from around the world, and the introduction has extensive health information for new vegans, for vegan parents, and for pregnant vegans.

For the soup, feel free to use lots of different root vegetables. I like the squash because it gives the soup a pretty orange color, and I avoided carrots because the parsnips smelled like carrots (they were under investigation). I've never cooked with turnips or celery root before, so I got one of each to try them out (the celery root, or celeriac, turned out to be a total winner). As for the herbs, I like thyme, but you can roast the vegetables with bay leaves, fresh sage, or rosemary, too.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup


1 small butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and 1" cubed
2-3 parsnips, peeled and 1" cubed
1 purple top turnip, washed and 1" cubed
1 celery root, peeled, washed, and 1" cubed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
several sprigs of fresh thyme
4 cups Vegetable stock
2 Tbl ground sage
2 Tbl ground cumin or toasted cumin seeds
1 Tbl  toasted coriander seed

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cubed vegetables in the olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper, and place them in a deep baking dish in a single layer. Place sprigs of thyme throughout and roast for 45 minutes, turning half way through.

2. Add half of the vegetable stock and half of the roasted vegetables to a food processor fitted with a metal blade, removing the thyme. Add the sage, cumin, and coriander. Puree until smooth. Add the rest of the stock and vegetables and puree, adding more stock if necessary.

Serve very warm with sour supreme and french bread!

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