Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Creamy Root Vegetable Soup

I noticed this morning that there was a length of garden hose lying outside of the back door and was surprised that, with all of the other outdoor summery items I had cleaned and stored in the basement or garage in the previous couple of days, I didn’t take care of this. So just before lunch I went outside to have one final look around the patio areas before the predicted *shudder* snow moves in tonight.

Suddenly, it is winter. Well, no, but it certainly felt like it. If I hadn’t seen the gold, red, and still-green trees, and had wandered outside with my eyes closed (that hardly ever happens, really), I would have thought it was January.

The sky is a dark gray, the wind gusts are close to 20mph, the air temperature is in the upper 30’s but feels as though it’s in the low 30’s, and it’s also spattering rain. Suddenly the wind stops, the sun comes out, and the gold trees practically glow in the light. Then some more gray, more wind, harder rain.

I did not stay outside for very long, and my faithful feline companion Spooky decided that he would rather be curled up on the warm radiator instead of chasing leaves in the yard.

This is definitely a soup day.

I have declared this to be The Fall/ Winter of the Soup Lunch. Jack has not previously considered soup to be a meal, but he is slowly beginning to see things my way. How better to get a lot of nutritious vegetables than in a nice, substantial, warming soup? And now that the weather had turned cool (cold! freezing cold!!!) I have a supply of homemade bread on hand to either make go-along sandwiches or just serve warm with the soup.

Years ago I had clipped a recipe for a soup which contained parsnip and carrot, and since I now actually had a couple of parsnips on hand, I dug the recipe out of the depths of my binder and went to work.

This soup was easy to get started (actually, I worked on it as Jack changed the water filter underneath the kitchen sink. Tell me, after reminding him to do this chore since last spring, why did he choose when I was in the kitchen cooking, needing to use the sink??? But I digress…). Onions are sautéed until sweet and golden, then parsnips and carrots added for a bit and stirred until softened. Vegetable broth is poured in, potatoes added, and the mixture simmers for a while. When the vegetables are soft, fresh parsley and thyme are stirred in and the mixture is pureed until almost smooth. That mixture is then returned to the pot, lowfat half & half and is added, the thick, fragrant mixture is rewarmed, and dry sherry is stirred in.

After ladling into soup bowls, I garnished with some light sour cream (thinned with more lowfat half & half).

Jack wrinkled his nose at the mention of parsnip, but immediately said how good it was. And he was right. The parsnip added a peppery bite, the carrot a little sweetness, and the potato substance. Balanced with the creaminess of the lowfat half & half and spiked with dry sherry, this could very well be an elegant first course to a holiday meal or a nice light lunch.

As an additional note, Spooky enjoyed the soup as well. Yet he turns his little nose up at shrimp. Go figure.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Creamy Root Vegetable Soup

Recipe By: Vicci

Serving Size: 3

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

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2 tablespoons olive oil

9 ounces sweet onion -- quartered, sliced 1/4" thick; about 2 1/2 cups

6 ounces parsnip -- peeled and chopped into 1/4" pieces; about 1 1/2 cups

4 ounces carrot -- peeled and chopped into 1/4" pieces; about 1 cup

10 ounces white potato -- peeled and chopped into 1/4" pieces

3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley -- or 1 tablespoon dried

1 teaspoon fresh thyme -- or 1/2 teaspoon dried, crumbled thyme

3/4 cup lowfat half & half

2 tablespoons dry sherry

3 tablespoons light sour cream

1 1/2 tablespoons lowfat half & half

In a nonstick pot, heat the oil then sauté the onion slices over a medium flame until golden, stirring frequently, for about 12 minutes. Add the parsnip and carrot and stir often for another 10 minutes (do not allow the vegetables to burn). Add the potato, stir for a few more minutes, then add the broth. Bring the broth to a boil, turn down the heat to low, add the DRIED herbs (if using), cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Stir in the FRESH thyme and parsley, if using, and cook for 2 more minutes.

In two batches, puree the hot soup (be careful of steam burns!) until almost smooth. Return to the pot, add the lowfat half & half, and rewarm slowly*, stirring constantly. Stir in the sherry.

In a small bowl mix the sour cream and 1-1/2 tablespoons of lowfat half & half until smooth.

Ladle soup into bowls, dollop with sour cream.

* Lowfat half & half will curdle if brought to a boil, so turn off the heat before this can happen.


"4 cups"

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Per serving: 284 Calories (kcal); 10g Total Fat (2g Saturated); (30% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 34g Carbohydrate; 1mg Cholesterol; 548mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

This was originally a Gourmet recipe, but I made several changes to it and therefore deem it as my own. The Queen has spoken.