Sunday, February 3, 2008

Squash, Yam And Leek Soup With Blood Orange Juice

Even though I'm a fair weather kinda gal, I have to admit that winter does have its good points. Setting aside for the moment that it lasts far too long, winter brings us some very earthy, high in fiber vegetables: Think hard-skinned squashes, rutabagas, turnips, leeks, carrots, beets, celeriac and potatoes, to name just a few. And then winter tops it off with beautiful kales, chards and citrus. Yes! Just when you think your teeth may fall out from lack of vitamin C, in the middle of winter citrus comes to the rescue. The many varieties of tangerines, oranges, and grapefruits alone can perk up a mid-winter meal like nobody's business.

The juice of blood oranges gave this comforting, wintery soup the perfect touch of brightness.


Squash, Yam and Leek Soup with Blood Orange Juice
Christine's original recipe
Ingredients:
1 very large garnet yam, peeled and cubed (yields approx. 2-3 cups)
1 extremely large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (yields approx 6-8 cups)
3 leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned and cut into 1-inch slices
1 cup shredded carrots (left from making the carrot cake which is coming up next)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced (more is better)
4-6 full stems of fresh thyme
1/2 cup extra-dry vermouth
4-5 cups organic vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly squeezed juice from several blood oranges
olive oil for the pan

Preparation:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place all the vegetables and garlic in a large, lightly oiled roasting pan. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Lay the thyme sprigs over the top of the vegetables.
Seal the pan with aluminum foil and roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender. Shake the pan from time to time to keep anything from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You want the vegetables to roast gently and not get very browned.
During the last 10 minutes of roasting, remove the foil from the pan, strip the thyme leaves from their stems, discarding the stems, stir the vegetables gently and put back in the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Remove all the contents of the pan to a large soup pot.
Deglaze the roasting pan with the vermouth and pour that into the soup pot.
Add 1/2 of the vegetable stock plus the allspice to the vegetables.

Using an immersion blender, start blending the vegetables, adding stock as needed, until it's all velvety smooth. You can add more or less stock, depending on the consistency desired.
When the soup is smooth, stir in the blood orange juice. Adjust with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Cook's Notes:
I didn't measure the vegetables so am guessing as to how many cups I had of both the yams and squash. I'm pretty sure the squash weighed about 5 pounds.
Smooth with just the errant small piece of squash here and there, should you wish for total smoothness, you could put the soup through a food mill or a chinois.
Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.






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