December 4, 2013

Vegetable Bin Soup

A carrot, a parsnip, and a sweet potato walk into a bar...

Actually, it was 2 big carrots, 2 parsnips, and a sweet potato languishing in the vegetable bin. They weren't long for the compost heap. It was a case of use 'em or lose 'em. Luckily, they turned into quite a delicious, satisfying, improvised soup. 
I didn't pay enough attention to recreate it in recipe form, but here's what I did. First, I preheated the oven to 500 degrees. While it came up to temperature, I thawed in the microwave about 2 cups of fresh (uncooked), cubed butternut squash I had in the freezer. I peeled and cubed the sweet potato into similar sized chunks. I peeled and sliced the carrots and parsnips into planks. I lined two sheet trays with parchment. The squash and potato went on one sheet, the carrots and parsnips on the other. I lightly drizzled each with olive oil, sprinkled a little kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper over each, then tossed them with my hands to distribute the oil. Then they went into the super hot oven.

Meanwhile, I diced a an onion and slowly sauteed it in a big soup pot with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a good amount of ground cumin. Ten minutes into the vegetable roasting, I shook them around on the sheet trays. The carrots and parsnips were nicely browned in 20 minutes. I transferred them, the soft onions, and a cup of coconut milk (also leftover and thawed from the freezer) to a blender and pureed. When nice and smooth, it went back into the soup pot to reheat. By then, the potato and squash were done. Into the blender they went for the puree treatment along with 3 cups or so of vegetable stock and a couple of scant spoonfuls of sambal oelek (fresh chili paste, it comes in a jar). When smooth, it joined the rest of the puree in the soup pot. I mixed it well, brought it to a simmer, and stirred in the juice from half a lime before serving. It made 4 servings.

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