Soup, a smart choice for autumn meals

It’s very difficult to miss the mark with soups blending caraway and roasted vegetables

A bowl of root vegetable and caraway soup.

Photo: Maria Stordahl Nelson
A garnish of crème fraîche, baby greens, and olive oil makes this soup as attractive as it is simple and healthful.

Maria Stordahl Nelson
Seattle, Wash.

There are few things in the autumn and winter months that are as satisfying as roasted vegetable soups. Their practical, healthful, and affordable ingredients make them recipes that are on continuous repeat in my house from year to year. It’s often a great way for me to use produce that is left over from other recipes and an excellent way to make the most of what’s on hand.

Over time I’ve tweaked and tested various root vegetable recipes with a variety of ingredients and spices, and each time I feel like I’ve found my new favorite. To me it seems that it’s quite simply very difficult to mess these soups up! My love for this type of soup is a persistent theme and I know I’m not alone. I’ve written here before about my love of caramelized, roasted cauliflower and I think many of us know how dear it is to Scandinavians of all stripes.

Throughout my years of baking and cooking Nordic food, I’ve continually been inspired by the way Nordic chefs show a delightful consistency with inclusion of root vegetables in their recipes. While to some it may seem trendy, I think we can all agree that for us Scandinavians it’s anything but. Give this recipe a try, and feel free to add or change it as you see fit. Roasted parsnips or even broccoli would be a lovely way to switch things up. The unique addition of crushed caraway gives this soup an added depth of flavor that I find irresistible.

Roasted Root Vegetable and Caraway Soup
1 large head cauliflower, cored & roughly chopped
2 medium-size leeks, white & light green parts only, cleaned & chopped
2 small russet potatoes, peeled & diced, or 8 oz. peeled & diced celeriac if you prefer
4 whole cloves peeled garlic
2 tbsps. olive oil
1 tsp. coarsely ground caraway seeds
salt & pepper to taste
1 qt. chicken bone broth
½ cup half and half

for garnish:
crème fraîche
baby greens
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the cauliflower, leeks, potatoes, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and caraway over the top and then roast in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. When done the vegetables should be caramelized and soft when pierced with a knife.

In a large stock pot, combine the vegetables with the broth and bring to a simmer. Remove the pot from the stove and purée the ingredients with an immersion blender. You can also purée them in a regular blender if done in small batches.

Return the mixture to the stock pot and add the half and half. Add more half and half if you desire a thinner soup. Ladle into bowls and garnish with toppings. Serve alongside rye bread and butter.

Serves 4.

Maria Stordahl Nelson is a Seattle-area food writer, photographer, and recipe developer. She shares her love of all things sweet, savory, and sometimes Nordic at www.pinkpatisserie.net.

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 3, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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