Staying warm and healthy at this time of the year is a challenge at times.
With cold and flu season in full swing, we need to build our body up for the challenge. One of the best ways to keep your family healthy is to implement proper hand-washing techniques and to eat properly.
I have always had a fondness for soups. Soup is a power pack of nutrition: not soup that you rehydrate from a powder, but a real soup full of winter vegetables.
I have had so many people in my cooking classes ask me about making soup and they tell me how it can be time-consuming challenge. A recipe that I share with them — and now share with you — is so easy that my 11-year-old can make it without a problem.
The technique of roasting the vegetables will help in future soups and cooking projects.
In this soup, you can really use any vegetable, including squash and heirloom beets; you can also switch out the pear for apples.
If you have a nut allergy, leave out the walnuts. This recipe can also be adjusted to accommodate the vegetarians and gluten- and dairy-free people in our lives.
Roasted Root Vegetable Soup with Goat Cheese and Walnut Pesto
- 1 lb (500 g) carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 lb (500 g) parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large ripe pear, peeled, cored and quartered
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 6 tbsp (90 mL) extra virgin olive oil
- 1-½ tsp (7 mL) salt
- ½ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices of good quality Italian bread, each 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick and cut in cubes
- ½ cup (125 mL) crumbled goat cheese
- ⅓ cup (75 mL) PC black label Walnut Pesto, stirred
- 2 cartons (each 900 mL) PC Blue Menu Chicken Broth or vegetable stock (homemade is best)
- ¼ cup (50 mL) 35% whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220° C).
- On rimmed baking sheet, place carrots, parsnips, leek, onion, garlic, pear, and thyme. Drizzle evenly with 3 tbsp (45 mL) of the olive oil. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp (1 mL) each of the salt and pepper. Using hands, toss to combine. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes, turning twice, or until softened and golden brown.
- Meanwhile, in small frying pan, heat remaining 3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches, fry bread cubes (turning often) for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Transfer to bowl and set aside you (can also add garlic while cooking the bread).
- In small bowl, gently stir together goat cheese and 3 tbsp (45 mL) of the pesto until combined; set aside.
- Place half of roasted vegetables in blender. Pour in 2 cups (500 mL) of broth/stock. Purée until smooth. Transfer to large saucepan. Repeat with remaining roasted vegetables, 1 cup (250 mL) water and 1-⅔ cups (400 mL) broth/stock.
- Heat soup over medium-high. Stir in remaining carton (900 mL) of broth/stock, remaining pesto, and remaining 1-¼ tsp (6 mL) salt and ¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir in cream.
- To serve, garnish with croutons and goat cheese mixture.
Harvest Soup with Walnut Pesto