Allow me to introduce you to the newest member of my kitchen family. Of course I really wanted a Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven, but since I can barely bring myself to even go inside of a store that carries something this expensive, I finally brought home this off-brand which I could only actually purchase because Whitney was with me to remind me that I have wanted one forever. It was $38 instead of $300. My sister has told me that studies show that the enamel will wear off of my cheaper dutch oven, but I feel certain that I will have gotten my money’s worth by then. I have already used it about 20 times since bringing it home. And I love it almost as much as I do my half-sheet pans, which is saying a lot. It is a beautiful cooking experience…perfectly browned vegetables, start-to-finish soups instead of starting with a skillet, evenly distributed heat and a final product that can go in the oven to stay warm.
Of the many meals I have made in my new pot, roasted vegetable soup was maybe the highlight. This soup is a variation on Late Harvest Soup, a wonderful fall soup full of those delicious orange vegetables that match the leaves this time of year. The small but distinct difference between last fall’s harvest pot and this year’s is the roasting of the vegetables. Roasting brings out the best in a vegetable, making the flavor of the soup delectable. Mary Polly noted the difference as she filled up her bowl a second time, Mom, you know what is strange? You used to make a soup that looked like this one but we didn’t like it. But now we like it! And how could you not? So much goodness.
Roasted Vegetable Soup
very loosely adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
2 quarts organic free range chicken broth
10 pounds winter vegetables (I used 2 pounds carrots, 1 bunch leeks, 1 large onion, 1 large butternut squash, 2 sweet potatoes, 1 fennel bulb, 1 large celery root and 3 or 4 medium red potatoes)
1 entire head of garlic, cloves peeled.
2 teaspoons herbes de provence
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
For the vegetables:
Peel, chop and seed all the vegetables.
Place in a large bowl with garlic cloves and toss with 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, until all vegetables are coated.
Add in 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence.
Spread vegetables over 3 to 4 half sheet pans lined with parchment paper.
Roast at 450 degrees F for 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of the vegetable chunks), stirring halfway through.
For the soup:
Bring the chicken stock to boil in your very favorite heavy bottomed soup pot.
Add in the vegetables and blend with a hand blender until soup reaches a desired consistency. You can thin it with more broth or a little cream if it is too thick. And if you do not have a hand blender, you can use a regular blender, food processor or a food mill. I love a hand blender, because you don’t have to get something else dirty or pour hot soup in and out of the pot and blender.
Serve hot with a slice of hot bread and butter and enjoy all that vitamin A.