I hope everyone’s New Year is off to a good start! Crossed-fingers that 2012 is really good, because — assuming the abrupt end to the Mayan calendar doesn’t mean what the doomsayers think it means — this year is extra long. It’s Leap Year, natch. (Which also means that there’s one extra day between me and my first paid holiday off from work. [Boo])
But I can use the extra day, truth be told. Because this year, I’m mounting a one-woman crusade to rid the world of the phrase, “I’m not a big fan of soup.”
Grrr, argh. Those words are like fingernails down a blackboard. I see this all over the interwebs: “I was going to try [insert name of magazine, famous chef, interesting blog]’s recipe, but I’m just not a big fan of soup.” Gah! It’s just not possible to not like soup.
If you believe you’re not a fan of soup, then it simply means you haven’t found the right soup for you. I’m here to change that in 2012.
First, I want to introduce a new section I recently added to this web site: the Visual Soup Index. There you’ll find photos of every soup on SoupAddict.com (listed from most recent to oldest).
And I’ll be doing a soup a week in 2012, following the seasons as best I can.
So first up this year is a soup that features my favorite winter veggies: leeks, carrots (both of which are still thriving in my garden), parsnips, and sweet potatoes — oven-roasted to bring out their inherent richness.
Throw in some super-healthy quinoa and kale, plus beautiful red lentils, top it with crusty bread and an egg, and you have a hearty, comforting meal in a bowl.
And don’t say “But I…”! No budeye’s this year, okay? Soup. is. good.
Roasted Winter Vegetable Bread Soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: Serves 4
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided usage
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only
1 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia, Walla Walla, or Texas Sweet), peeled and quartered
1 stalk celery, cut into large chunks
2 medium carrots, cut into thick slices
1 medium parsnip, cut into thick slices
1 small sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into thick slices
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 cup red lentils
1/3 cup red quinoa (or regular quinoa)
3 springs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 large leaves kale, thick stems removed, chopped
1 small head cabbage, outer leaves discarded (if damaged) cored, sliced
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 loaf crusty whole grain bread, 1/2″ slices, toasted
1/2 cup finely shredded parmesano reggiano
4 eggs, poached or soft-boiled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Toss the first six vegetables with 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread out on a lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to brown slightly. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
3. Warm remaining olive oil in a 4 to 5 quart stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, chop and transfer to the pot to reheat.
4. Stir in the white wine, and continue heating until most has cooked off. Coat the vegetables with the flour and stir well. Add the stock and water, and turn heat to medium-high. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat back to medium.
5. Add the lentils, quinoa and thyme and cook for 10 minutes. Add the kale, cabbage and parsley and cook 10 minutes more. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed. Turn heat down to simmer until ready to serve.
6. Line 4 soup bowls with one slice of bread each. Cut the remaining slices into 4 smaller squares.
7. Ladle soup into the bowls. Place bread pieces over the surface of the soup in each of the bowls. Sprinkle cheese over the bread, and top each bowl with an egg. Serve immediately.