Roots are an important part of seasonal eating during the winter months, when they are ripe and at their most flavorful. This Vegetarian soup is hearty and comforting as well as versatile. It can be made vegan by using oil instead of butter, and becomes a hearty meal for meat eaters with some sliced up sausage on top or a garnish of bacon.
Step 1: Brown Butter, Oh How I Love Thee!
In this photo you can see the butter is getting too hot, starting to smoke and black bits are forming in the bottom. This is about a minute too late for this butter that will now have a slightly burnt flavor instead of the deep nutty flavor we are looking for.
This recipe requires 1 tablespoon of browned butter.
Step 2: Recipe- Can't Make This Soup Without It.
1 tablespoon butter
1 small yellow onion diced
2 carrots peeled diced
2 stalks celery diced (or whatever makes carrots and celery equal to the amount of onion)
2 sweet potatoes peeled and diced
2 russet potatoes peeled and diced
2 golden beets peeled and diced
8oz crimini mushrooms
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon marjoram
1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat large soup pot. Add 1 tablespoon butter. Cook butter on low until it turns brown and starts to become nutty.
In the meantime dice onion, carrots and celery. This is known as a mirepoix: (Meer-PWAH)
After butter has browned add Mirepoix and cook until vegetables have just started to become tender.
Add diced Sweet Potatoes, Russet Potatoes, and beets. Allow root vegetables to cook for a long period of time in order to infuse the soup with a roasted vegetable flavor (about half an hour) If root vegetables begin to stick to the bottom of the pan you can add 1/2 tablespoon of oil.
After vegetables are slightly caramelized and are nearly tender add 4 cups of stock, and 1/2 cup of dry white wine. Add spices, salt and pepper.
Allow to simmer for at least another half hour until vegetables are fully tender.
Step 3: Adding Depth to Vegetarian Food
As mentioned in the recipe it's important the vegetables cook for a while without the cooking liquid. Because this is a vegetarian soup and we are not relying on seared meat to bring a depth of flavor the flavor has to be built up in other ways. The way we achieve that in this soup is by doing the following:
Browning The butter- This brings out the natural flavors in the butter, and adds another layer to the dish.
Caramelizing the vegetables- allowing the root vegetables to cook in the pan brings out the natural sugars in the vegetables. This will add some much needed depth to this soup.
Adding wine- For some reason booze just makes everything better! Seriously though wine is complex all by itself and it adds that to the dish it's in.
Step 4: Simmer, and Spice, and Everything Nice.
Allowing the soup to simmer longer will cause the potatoes and sweet potatoes to break down, yielding a thick stew of beets and mushrooms.
If you really want it to be perfect wait a day to serve this soup, chilling after the vegetables become al dente.
However long you simmer your soup for, be sure to taste it again before serving because different cooking times, and rest times can change the flavor.Adjust the seasoning of your soup right before it's served.