11 January 2010

Cool Weather Comfort in a Bowl

While the rest of the continent seems to be in a deep freeze, around here it's been a string of stereotypically warm and sunny California days.  Yes, this is California, but last time I checked, the Bay Area was still chilly, as was the rest of the state north of the central coast.  It's not that I don't enjoy temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s, but such weather really isn't normal for January, even here. 

Before it began to heat up around here, soup sounded like the perfect food for those cool days.  It also ended up being a tasty way to use up many of the vegetables I had lying around--namely, the winter squash that had been sitting unattended for quite some time.  Aside from the tedious process of cutting up the very large Guatemalan blue banana squash, making the rest of the soup was quite easy.  I decided to roast all of the vegetables, because I love the sweetness brought out by this particular cooking method.  I'm sure a wide range of veggies could be used, but this is what I put in my soup (using what was readily available):

Half-inch cubes of winter squash (2 to 3 cups)
2 large leeks, cut into rings and rinsed thoroughly
3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
A head of garlic, with the top third of it removed
Half a head of cauliflower, separated into florets

I kept the different vegetables separated on rimmed baking sheets, drizzled them all with olive oil, and sprinkled them with salt, black pepper, and a few pinches of dried thyme.  I wrapped the garlic, cut side up, in a piece of foil.  Everything went into the oven--preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit--and I checked each type of veggie for too much browning, turning them periodically.  Because the project was a bit spontaneous, I didn't keep track of roasting times and just played it by ear.  The squash was the last to leave the oven, staying in for approximately an hour.
All went from oven to soup pot.  I added 4 cups of liquid: 2 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups of water.  When making soup, I normally favor all if not most of the added liquid in the form of vegetable broth, but this time around, I knew the roasted vegetables would have a good amount of flavor themselves and did not want to mask it with too much broth.  I used an immersion blender to puree most of the soup, leaving some chunkiness to achieve the desired texture.  After heating the soup through and tasting to be sure the amount of salt was appropriate, I ladled a bit into a bowl, dressed it with a dash or so of hot sauce, and enjoyed my roasted veggie soup with a warm hunk of crusty bread.  It was so comforting and a wonderful blend of savory and sweet flavors.  So for those of you still experiencing wintry weather, try roasting up some veggies and have yourself a bowl of hearty soup to warm up.

2 comments:

  1. Yum! It is pretty chilly here and I could sooo go for a bowl of that soup tonight. Roasted veggies are the best!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yum! It is pretty chilly here and I could sooo go for a bowl of that soup tonight. Roasted veggies are the best!

    ReplyDelete

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