Coming up with daily specials and fresh soups is one of the jobs restaurant chefs have to do every day.
Ideally, chefs will tour local produce markets, reach out to their meat vendors and fishmongers and try to find the products that are at their peak of freshness that particular day.
This roasted vegetable soup is a good fall-back recipe I make frequently because you can use pretty much any kind of root vegetable or squash and it will turn out pretty well.
In this dish, I used butternut squash and carrots, but you could easily substitute acorn or carnival squash for the butternut. And you can substitute parsnips, rutabaga or turnip for the carrots.
Or you could use any combination of these vegetables, just as long as they are thoroughly roasted.
Typically, people associate a roasted squash and root vegetable soup with winter because at that time of year, these are the best vegetables availalble, and because people perceive it is a denser, heavier soup.
But high quality carrots and squash are in the markets all year long and the soup they produce is not at all heavy, and in fact is surprisingly light, if prepared correctly.
The key is to include the right amount of vegetable stock — or whatever kind of liquid you are using — and not to load it up at the end with heavy cream or butter. In this recipe, I left out the traditional last step — adding the dairy product — because I wanted to keep it light due to the warmer weather.
But if you did want to give the soup it’s traditional silky feel, you could substitute fat free half-and-half for the heavy cream and the soup would be lush without being heavyl.
I paired it with some garlic breadsticks I made by modifying this amazing pizza dough recipe I’ve been making a lot lately. In the last step, instead of rolling the dough out into a pizza crust, separate it into eight peices and roll them out into thin logs, brush them with garlic butter and sprinkle with coarse salt before baking.
Roasted Vegetable Soup
1 Butternut squash, cut in half, seeds and fibers removed
4 or 5 Carrots, peeled and rough chop
1 White onion, julienned
2 TBS Extra virgin olive oil
2 cups Low-sodium vegetable stock
Fresh cracked black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray baking sheet with pan spray. Spray both sides of squash with pan spray and lay face down on baking sheet. Toss carrots in a little oil and place on same baking sheet. Cook for 50 to 60 minutes or until squash is soft to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
2. Put soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add EVOO. When smoking, add onions, cover and cook until onions are soft and starting to brown, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove squash from skins, then add squash, carrots and vegetable stock and bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and let cook about 20 minutes, just to get the flavors to mix together.
3. Transfer mixture to food processor (or blender) and puree until evenly mixed. Be careful with the hot liquid so you don’t burn yourself. Return to pot, simmer anohter five minutes or so, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
4. If you want, you can finish the soup by whisking in about 1/4 cup fat free half and half. In a restaurant environment, I would use heavy cream plus a generous pat of butter to make the soup extra silky.
What soups do you like to make when the weather gets warmer? Share your ideas in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!