Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Roasted Vegetable and Mushroom Soup

Everyone knows Kitchen Sink Soup. You just gather up all the vegetables you have that you have too little of to make a real meal or that are on their way out and you dump them into a giant vegetable soup. It's always yummy and perfect for those rainy days where it's too gloomy to consider leaving the house. Well, today was one of those days for me, but mon dieu, I had no such odds and ends veg-wise to make a Kitchen Sink Soup!

All I had were a sweet potato that began to sprout pretty little purple vines, a 12 oz. box of baby bella mushrooms, two scallions, a kohlrabi, and a golden beet. I also had froze some of my homemade vegetable stock that I made over the weekend (instructions coming soon!) I really wanted to try out the stock so I started to formulate an idea.

I roasted all the vegetables, threw in some seasoning, melted down the frozen bag of stock, and pureed them together into a soup, leaving the mushrooms whole. At the last minute, I threw in some spaghetti I had already cooked and kept in the fridge. I expected a meh soup. Nothing to write home about but still edible. When I was done, I was kind of shocked. This soup was actually good. I mean, really good. A nice complex flavor. One vegetable wasn't overpowering the others. Everything melded really well. Best of all, it tasted nice, cozy, and warm. Perfect for this gloomy August day. 

Now, let's hope that these rainy days we've been having this August isn't the norm. I've been angling for another beach day this weekend and the weather better cooperate!

Get together:
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 large golden beet
  • 1 alien-looking kohlrabi (purple or green, it doesn't matter)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive ol
  • 2 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • A couple sprigs of oregano or 1/2 generous tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 quart of vegetable stock
  • 1 12 oz. box of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 mushroom bouillon cube (optional) 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 a lime, juiced
  • Enough spaghetti for 2, prepared
Now, to make 4 servings of soup:
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Peel and coarsely chop the sweet potato, golden beet, and kohlrabi into 1/2" cubes. Add them to a large roasting pan, salt and pepper generously, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 35-40 minutes, tossing the vegetables halfway.
  • Meanwhile, prepare and chop the scallions, garlic, and oregano. Set aside.
  • Clean and slice the baby bella mushrooms.
  • Add the scallions, garlic, and oregano to the roasted vegetables in the last 10 minutes of cooking, tossing well.
  • Remove the roasting pan from the oven but do not turn it off.
  • In a blender, add cilantro and all the vegetables, scraping every last bit out of the pan. Pour in about half a quart of vegetable stock or enough to cover the vegetables. 
  • Move the mushrooms to the roasting pan, season lightly with salt, and drizzle with more oil if needed. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • While the mushrooms are roasting, puree the vegetables in the blender. Pour the puree into a pot and add more stock to thin it out. Don't make it watery, just make it slightly thick enough to have texture.
  • Add the mushroom bouillon cube and season with cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt. Bring up to a gentle boil over medium heat. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  • When the mushrooms are roasted, soft with slightly crispy edges, remove from the oven and add to the soup. Squeeze 1/2 a lime over it. My lime was particularly juicy so it was enough, yours may be stingy so use a whole lime if needed.
  • Ladle into individual bowls and add spaghetti whole. Cut up the strands with your spoon and enjoy.
This is super easy to double up to have a larger pot. Even though it sounds labor intensive, it's really not. A short cut I did was roasting the mushrooms with the other vegetables and just picking them out when they were done. It allowed time for the vegetables to slightly cool so I could handle them in the blender. Alternatively, you could add the stock and the vegetables including the cilantro to the pot and use an immersion blender to puree. Then, add in the mushrooms and continue as directed. 

I know it sounds like a weird soup, but it's well worth it. The sweet potato's sweetness played really well with the kohlrabi's cabbagey turnipy flavor and the beet's earthiness. The roasted mushroom added that "final" punctuation that ends the play of flavors on your tongue. The spice from the cayenne pepper, the smokiness from the cumin, and the tang from the lime really helped bring it together. This is definitely a soup I'd make again!

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