We are finally moved and settled into the house! I could live in the new McCorrie Lane Kitchen, literally, it as almost as large as the entirety our old apartment itself. That may be a slight exaggeration but none the less I am blissfully savoring the delight of having a pot filler (who knew I needed one!) one enormous farmhouse sink and an island sink! Not to mention the overwhelming giddiness that washes over me when I realize I can broil salmon in one oven while baking chocolate cake in an entirely different oven! Least I sound like I am bragging let me just mention the tedium of constantly sweeping slate floors & caring for natural stone (granite) countertops. Who am I kidding? I relish even the tidying up in my dream kitchen!
Enough about my kitchen- let’s talk about soup! Last fall I shared my recipe for butternut squash soup, one of my favorite dishes in this crisp clean weather. I remember when I was a child and my Mom would make carrot soup, containing straightforward basic ingredients and straightforward easy instructions, but with the immensely gratifying taste of rich butter mingling smoothly with sweet carrots.
I started thinking I would marry the two; my mothers nostalgic sweet soup and my savory roasted squash soup, then I went a little crazy. After the first attempt I deemed it yummy but ordinary and rummaging about in my vegetable bins I got inspired to add some unexpected flavors which add an intensity and interest to an otherwise traditional soup.
Half a butternut squash
5 medium to large carrots
2 medium parsnips
Half a bulb of garlic
3 medium red bliss potato’s (unpeeled!)
Half a large red pepper
About an inch chunk of peeled fresh ginger
2 large shallots
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper
Goat cheese & sliced scallions for garnish
1) Set oven for 425 degrees and allow to preheat ; prepare squash, carrots, parsnips, garlic, potatoes, red pepper and ginger by peeling and chopping into 1 to 2 inch chunks. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with pepper and salt to taste (you can always add more later) and add about 1 cup of vegetable broth.
2) I used my Grandfathers Schlemmertopf, which is essentially a terra-cotta baking dish with a lid. Be sure to soak the unglazed lid thoroughly immersed in water for a good ten minutes before placing in the oven. In lieu of a Schlemmertopf you can also use any sort of oven proof casserole dish that you can cover. Allow vegetables to roast about 40 minutes, give or take depending on when the carrots & parsnips are easily punctured with a fork.
3) In the meantime peel and chop the shallots, placing them in a large soup pot with one stick of butter and the remainder of the vegetable broth. Set on a low heat and allow them to simmer.
4) When the vegetables are done roasting carefully add them to the soup pot, turn off the heat and using an immersion blender starting on a low setting begin to puree the vegetables, turning the blender to a higher setting as you go. Add the half and half and stir in completely.
5) Serve with about a tablespoon of crumbled goat cheese and sliced scallions.