Sunday, September 18, 2011

Recipe (sort of): Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

     The days have suddenly turned from the height of summer to impending autumn.  At least in my corner of the world, it only took about a week to make the transition; the suddenness of it has left my body and brain confused and a bit down.  However, autumn comes with many benefits.  I can tolerate the temperatures better, I appreciate the coziness of home better, and I love soup.  Partly because it's economical, partly because it's easy to make a ton, partly because soups are very forgiving and don't require much in the way of exactitude to be delicious.  Well, not that I make anything that requires a lot of exactitude.  I'm into flexibility in general, perhaps to a fault.

     I had the day off today, so I cooked.  We had a bunch of root vegetables in the fridge, so root vegetable soup it is.  If you need an exact recipe, you won't find it here, but I have written down my process.  I was going to include pictures, but they didn't turn out very well; I need to find my real camera.

I started by peeling and cutting into bite-sized pieces:
-1 butternut squash
-1 rutabaga
-1 turnip
-2 small parsnips
-3 potatoes
-1 sweet onion
-7 or 8 cloves of garlic

     I heated the oven to 350 degrees.  I put the garlic and onion onto a cookie sheet and drizzled a small amount of olive oil on them, and a few shakes of salt and pepper.  The potatoes, parsnips, turnip, and rutabaga got put into a plastic bag into which I drizzled more olive oil, salt and pepper.  I shook them in the bag to coat evenly, then they went onto the sheet with the garlic and onion.  I repeated that process for the squash, which then went into its own pan.  Partly because there was no room on the cookie sheet, but also because I wanted it to be easy to separate some of the squash out.

     The vegetables then went into the oven.  When I started to be able to smell them, I stirred them around, and returned them to the oven for a bit... 20 minutes, maybe? (I did say it was sort of a recipe.)  When they were done, I put 3/4ths of the onion in a pot with a splash of balsamic vinegar, so that they could carmelize a bit, while I cut up my 1.71 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken, which then went into the pot. 

     When the chicken was well on its way to browned, I poured about a third of a bottle of wine in with it.  We happened to have merlot, but I think it would be good with pretty much any type of wine, as long as you know how to adjust the other flavors.  A couple tablespoons of chicken bullion and garlic powder, and then simmer while I pureed 2/3rds of the squash with enough coconut milk and half and half to cover it in the blender, and the remaining 1/4 onion.  When the chicken was thoroughly cooked by wine, I added the puree and the rest of the vegetables.  Stirring it all together, I decided to add a glass of water to thin it out a bit, a couple of dashes of Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, ginger, a bit more bullion, and pepper, as well as another splash of balsamic vinegar.  15 minutes or so on low heat for the spices to release their flavors and everything to meld together, and done.  The whole process took about two hours, and I'm left with enough delicious food for the three of us to eat for a few days.  Though I'll probably put half of it in the freezer for a later date.

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