Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Root vegetables are under-appreciated. Root vegetables are kind of like the geeks you see whenever you go into a bar. You know...the ones who are uncool, poorly dressed and have absolutely no chance of picking up chicks because they are so uninteresting.? Yeah, unlike the flashier vegetables like asparagus, rapini, bok choy and purple cauliflower, the roots ain't very hip!

But I prefer to think of root vegetables more like the two-by-fours you pass by at the building center because you want to look at the sparkly bathroom fixtures. And that's cool, but without the two-by-fours, you have no walls, and you would be peeing out behind a bush rather than in your cozy bathroom. So, bad analogy aside, roots are the practical members of the vegetable family and like the two-by-fours we use to build houses, they are the flavor builders in cooking.

This is a simple root vegetable soup I make in the early fall. I like to add in a touch of curry to compliment the sweetness of the roots and then finish it with just a little cream to add a bit of richness. Coconut milk could easily be added as well and would be a great flavor with the curry.

First the roots are diced in uniform pieces. This ensures that all of the vegetables will cook Here I have diced rutabaga, yams, parsnips and carrots. I also dice butternut squash and chop leek which will both be added later in the cooking process.

In a large pot I melt some butter

When the butter stops sizzling, the roots are added to the pot to be sauteed.

When the vegetables have been sauteed for a few minutes, I dust them with curry powder. and a bit of white pepper.

While sauteeing the roots, I cut the butternut squash and leeks.

Chicken stock is added to the pot. I add enough to cover all of the roots completely. This is allowed to come to a simmer over a medium-high heat and is then reduced to medium for a slow simmer. The soup is allowed to cook until the vegetables are tender. I like to keep the vegetables el dente.

When the vegetables have cooked long enough, I add the squash and leeks. I allow them to cook until tender.

The soup is seasoned with salt, sugar and a touch of white wine vinegar. Cream is added to finish the soup off.

Chopped flat leaf parsley is added as a garnish just before serving.

This soup is satisfying. The curry adds a smooth background flavor to this soup that works well with the yam and the sweetness of the roots. The cream adds richness to the broth and picks up on the richness of of the yams and parsnips.

If you are a vegetarian you can swap the chicken stock for vegetable stock and omit the cream. If you like purees, you could easily run this soup through the blender and it would work well. Personally, I like this soup just the way it is.


Livingston Cooks said...

I hope some of you make this soup because it is really excellent!!

Anonymous said...

simply scrumptious. Made this in my slow cooker. didn't add any curry, not my fav but it was a perfect soup for the fall. Remmy