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Sunday, December 26, 2010

A New Friend

Hard as it may be for you to believe, I get excited about getting new things other than shoes and handbags.  This weekend I got the All Clad 8 quart stock pot and I am beyond excited.  Though "she" is new, I know we will get to know one another quickly and have a long and satisfying relationship.

Now, you may laugh about my excitement with this new acquisition, but having the right pot can make or break a recipe.  I already have a Le Crueset 8 quart dutch oven, which serves pretty much the same function as this new pot.   I love my dutch oven.  In fact, it may be my most used pot, but I do love All Clad.  It's a little lighter weight than the Le Crueset, and everything looks so appealing when it's cooking away on the stove.  I feel like a professional when I'm sauteing in just the right pot.

So, I decided to take my new stock pot out for a spin today.  Over the weekend I made a bunch of roasted vegetables.  I had some left over which got me started thinking about roasted vegetable soup.  When the weather is cold, there's nothing quite as satisfying as a big bowl of soup.   So, I decided to raid my produce drawer to see what else I had lying around to add to my already roasted vegetables.

The great thing about roasted vegetable soup is that you can make it with just about any veggies you have hanging around.  The vegetables don't even have to be all that fresh.  Or even that interesting.  Let me tell you, it's amazing how tasty a mundane carrot or parsnip can become when roasted in the oven and then pureed into soup.

If you have some homemade chicken stock in the freezer, all the better, but you can also make this using the boxed chicken stock.  (I use the low sodium variety when I'm using it.)  If you have some canned cannellini beans, throw those in as well.  Also, some little pastina is also a very nice touch and will make it a heartier soup, guaranteed to stick to your ribs.

The pot worked like  charm.  The soup was delicious.  So delicious, in fact, that I'm going to take a quart to my in-laws when we go to visit tomorrow.  I think the soup tasted even better than usual because of the new pot.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Note:  Use these vegetables as a guideline but don't be afraid to use what you have at home.  Cut everything in like sized pieces so they all cook at the same rate.  Be prepared to add a little more or a little less chicken stock, depending on how thick you want the soup to be.


6 small red potatoes
1 pound carrots
3 onions (1 onion small dice)
4 cloves of garlic, diced
2 fennel bulbs
1 pound butternut squash
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
salt and kosher pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
8 cups homemade chicken stock (or use low sodium boxed stock)
2 ribs celery, diced
5 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400.

Place diced potatoes, carrots, 2 onions, fennel bulbs, and butternut squash on two baking sheets, each in a single layer.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil  on each baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, until vegetables are soft.

In the meantime, in a dutch oven or stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Saute 1 onion (small dice) with the celery for about 10 minutes, until soft.  Add garlic and the fresh thyme and saute another 1 to 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add 6 cups of chicken stock and heat over medium heat.

Remove vegetables from the oven and puree in a food processor in batches.  Transfer the pureed vegetables to the pot with the simmering stock.  Stir to combine and let simmer for 10 minutes.  If soup is the desired consistency then check for spices.  If it is not pureed enough, use an immersion blender to puree a little more.  If the soup is thicker than you like, add a little more chicken stock.  Let simmer for another few minutes.  Garnish with chopped parsley.

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