Saturday, 14 March 2009

Ina's Roasted Vegetable Soup

I want to be Ina Garten when I grow up. Barring that, I want her to adopt me.
She could stash me away in the "barn", I am willing to rough it. Of course, you could fit my entire house plus a couple of my neighbours in there, but I digress..
Her recipes have never disappointed me, and this one is no exception. Rich, warm and veggie-licious, it has the perfect balance of tasty, filling and healthy. Perfect for Souper Sundays with Deb from Kahakai Kitchen. It's not Sunday yet, you say? That's ok, Deb is nothing if not gracious and understanding. At least to me, you're on your own.

Roasted Vegetable Soup - Ina Garten

3 to 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade, recipe follows (I used about 5)
1 quart Roasted Winter Vegetables, recipe follows
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, heat 3 cups of chicken stock. In 2 batches, coarsely puree the roasted vegetables and the chicken 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 chicken stock and reheat. The soup should be thick but not like a vegetable puree, so add more chicken stock and/or water until it's the consistency you like.

Chicken Stock: (I used my own, see below)
3 (5-pound) roasting chickens
3 large yellow onions, unpeeled, quartered
6 carrots, unpeeled, halved
4 celery stalks with leaves, cut in thirds
4 parsnips, unpeeled, cut in 1/2, optional
20 sprigs fresh parsley
15 sprigs fresh thyme
20 sprigs fresh dill
1 head garlic, unpeeled, cut in 1/2 crosswise
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, and seasonings in a 16 to 20-quart stockpot. Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 4 hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids. Chill the stock overnight. The next day, remove the surface fat. Use immediately or pack in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
Yield: 6 quarts

Roasted Winter Vegetables:
1 pound carrots, peeled
1 pound parsnips, peeled (I used beets)
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 degrees F.
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.
Yield: 8 servings

My Notes, Changes:
  • I make my own chicken stock by placing the carcass in the appropriate sized slowcooker, covering with water, tossing in some black peppercorns and coarse sea salt, and cooking on low for 8 hours. Then I strain into a clean glass container (usually my 8 cup measuring cup, sometimes more). This gives a wonderfully rich and gelatinous stock that is good for whatever flavourings I want to use it with. Plus, no monitoring the stove to make sure my simmer is ok!
  • I substituted the parsnips for beets, as that is what I had on hand. For anyone keeping track of my giant bag of beets - I only have two left now!
  • I garnished with some crumbled bleu cheese and served the soup with rolls and some butter that I whipped with some parsley, a little bit of bleu cheese and one clove of garlic.