SOUP SATURDAY: ROOT VEGETABLES

Third Saturday of the month, which means it’s time for soup! This month’s Soup Saturday Event event is hosted by Wendy, from A Day in the Life on the Farm. She chose Root Vegetables as the theme.  I thought about making a potato soup I’ve had in my files sitting for 6 years. Yes, I checked. That soup calls for two kinds of potatoes and it also involves shrimp. Unusual, right? I definitely have to make it before another 6 years go by. But then, another option called my attention, one that features a veggie that doesn’t get much praise. The parsnip. Inspiration for the recipe came from  the cookbook The New England Soup Factory, but I modified it quite a bit. Parsnips paired with tomatoes, a tasty idea. No matter your stance on this humble looking root veggie, I am certain you will love this soup.


PARSNIP AND TOMATO SOUP

(inspired by New England Soup Factory)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
2 ribs celery, sliced
8 medium parsnips, peeled and cut in chunks
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, peeled, with liquid
1 bottle V8 juice (12 ounces)
2 cups water
1/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper
fresh dill
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Add the olive oil, shallot and celery pieces into a pan, and saute until soft and fragrant in low heat, about 5 minutes. Add the parsnips, increase heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until it get a bit of color.
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Add the tomatoes with the liquid, stir to release brown bits from the pan.  Transfer to a pressure cooker, add the V8  juice and 1 cup of the water. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook on top of the stove until the parsnip pieces are tender, around 50 minutes.  If you use a pressure cooker, cook for 20 minutes and release pressure under cold running water.
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Transfer contents to a high-powered blender, and blend until smooth. Return to the pan. If too thick, thin with additional water. If too thin, simmer to thicken it. Add the half and half, some fresh dill and simmer gently for a couple of minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and add fresh dill right before serving it.
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Sprinkle some more fresh dill as a garnish.
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ENJOY!
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to print the recipe, click here
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Comments: I was really pleased with this soup. I love tomato soup but sometimes find it a bit too intense. The parsnips mellow the flavor of the tomato and give the whole thing a more earthy flavor. It’s important to use a very powerful blender, otherwise you could get a bit of  a fibrous texture. I ran the blender for a few minutes to make sure it was absolutely smooth. Oranges and tomatoes are great together, so when I enjoyed the soup again for my lunch next day, I added a bit of orange zest and squeezed some orange juice while warming it. Very nice, and the dill doesn’t fight with the citric flavor. I had never used V8 as a cooking ingredient, but will definitely keep it around, maybe even the spicy version for added kick. Often vegetable soups include chicken stock, but for the most part I prefer to use either water of a veggie stock. The half and half could be omitted, I suppose, if you like to keep it lower in fat, but it is such a small amount, I say go for it…
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Wendy, thanks for hosting! I invite my readers to click on the link feast below, to see what my virtual friends cooked up this month…

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ONE YEAR AGO: A Retro Dessert

TWO YEARS AGO: Cauliflower Tortillas: Going low-carb and loving it!

THREE YEARS AGO: Clementines in Cinnamon Syrup

FOUR YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2013 

FIVE YEARS AGO: Thrilling Moments (CROISSANTS!)

SIX YEARS AGO: Maple-Oatmeal Sourdough Bread

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Pork Trinity: coffee, mushrooms, and curry

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HEART-HEALTHY RECIPE FOR A CAUSE

Through The Secret Recipe Club, I got to know Jey, from “The Jey of Cooking“.  A year ago, her Mom received a new heart in a transplant, and Jey decided to post a heart-healthy recipe in her blog, inviting also other bloggers to do the same.  For every recipe posted, she made a donation for The American Heart Association .  Now, to mark the first anniversary of her mother’s surgery, she is launching the same campaign, and this is my contribution.  By the way, if you have a food blog, or even if you don’t, you can join too: simply cook a heart-healthy recipe, blog or take photos from it, and send an email to Jey, you can find more details jumping here.  The deadline is March 25th.

CHICKPEA AND FIRE-ROASTED TOMATO SOUP
(adapted from Fine Cooking; issue 116, March 2012)

1 Tbs. olive oil
Fine sea salt
1 medium shallot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (15 oz)
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
2 rosemary sprigs
3 cups water (or vegetable broth)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup low fat yogurt
squeeze of lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.Add the onion, celery, carrot, and a pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes with their juice, stir to combine, and cook for 1 minute. Add the rosemary, water, 1 tsp salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  Partially cover the pan and simmer gently for 20 minutes.  Remove the sprigs of rosemary, leaving behind any leaves that fell off the stem.  Purée the soup with a hand blender or in batches in a regular blender or food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, mix the yogurt with lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Divide the soup among 4 bowls, add a nice dollop of yogurt in the center of the bowl, and swirl it around with chopsticks.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

The original recipe, in the latest issue of Fine Cooking,  used regular tomatoes and had a higher proportion of chickpeas.  I confess to having a mild addiction to the heat and flavor of Muir fire-roasted tomatoes, so I try to sneak them in my cooking at every opportunity.   Their heat was quite obvious, so the yogurt swirl was a nice addition to tame the fire.

We are pretty much saying goodbye to soup weather, but this version would be great even on a warm Summer evening.  Chickpeas and tomatoes are  awesome together. I have paired them in stews and salads, but this was my first time enjoying them in a soup.  Tasty!

Jey, I hope you’ll get a lot of contributions to celebrate the first anniversary of your Mom’s surgery!

ONE YEAR AGO: Almond Butter Cake

TWO YEARS AGO:  Taillevent (a meal to remember…)

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ROASTED TOMATO SOUP

This post is a bit nostalgic, as this was the last recipe I made in the nano-kitchen, but we left L.A. before I had a chance to write it up. A very simple recipe designed with the idea of using ingredients hanging around before our departure from California. It turned out so delicious! Plus, it was a nice match for the weather we were having then. Now that the thermometers are wonderfully stuck in the high 90’s, the thought of soup is not particularly appealing, but this one would work equally well chilled.

ROASTED TOMATO SOUP
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

8-12 ounces of grape and/or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 shallots, cut in half
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
kalamata olive oil (or another olive oil of your choice)
splash of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
vegetable stock (or water)
2 Tbs orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
chives for garnish

Place the tomatoes, shallot pieces and garlic in a bowl and add enough olive oil to just coat them lightly. Transfer them to a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper, set the tomatoes with the cut size down. Sprinkle some salt and pepper all over, and a splash with balsamic vinegar.

Roast in a 425F oven for 20-25 minutes, until the tomato skins and the edges of the shallots start to get brown. Remove from the oven, let it all cool slightly, and using gloves peel off the skin of the tomatoes (you can leave them on if you don’t mind their texture in the soup). Squeeze the garlic out of its peel, and transfer it together with the tomatoes, shallots and any liquid accumulated in the pan to a food processor. Process it until smooth, pour into a sauce pan over medium heat, and add enough vegetable stock to give a consistency you like. Let it come to a gentle boil, add the orange juice, orange zest, taste for seasoning, and serve with chives sprinkled for garnish.

ENJOY!

                             to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I had a mixture of grape and cherry tomatoes that needed to be used, and a couple of yellow grape tomatoes went into the mix too. Feel free to improvise, nothing can go wrong with this soup: add different types of herbs, or go for a cumin or cayenne blast. I had planned to make some parmiggiano crisps to serve with the soup, but the electric burners in the nano-kitchen failed, and I was left with a big lump of cheesy mess. Once the weather cools, I’ll revisit this soup – cheese crisps included – and add some mushrooms to the roasting pan. I bet a roasted tomato & mushroom soup will be very flavorful.

ONE YEAR AGO: Turkey Meatballs

TWO YEARS AGO: Focaccia

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