By Margaret Bose-Johnson

When you are the child of German immigrants, you learn not to waste a thing. Both of my parents spent their childhoods as refugees in Europe during World War II, constantly fleeing danger and subsisting on very little. Consequently, even with the abundance of the life they were able to live in Canada, they could never throw out any usable item or even the tiniest bit of food. They instilled that thriftiness into their children. We grew up in hand-me-down clothes, we washed our plastic sandwich wrap to reuse again and again, and we made all our food at home, “from scratch.” I always say my mom could turn the scraps from the compost pail into the most delicious dinner.

This soup came about one day after discovering that my refrigerator crisper drawer was full of sad, wrinkly, mould-spotted vegetables. I couldn’t throw them out! All they needed was a good trimming and a loving roast in the oven. The vegetables caramelized into luscious sweetness, to be transformed into this creamy, complex, flavourful soup.

Now I make it often, and we sometimes call it “Clean Out the Crisper Drawer Soup.”

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup, Courtesy of Margaret Bose-Johnson, kitchenfrau.com, Stony Plain, Alta.

This recipe is a great way to use up veggies that are past their prime.

RoastedRootVegetableSoup

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 45 to 60 min
Yield: Makes about 5½ cups (1.325 L), or 4 servings

Ingredients
1 lb (450 g) mixed vegetables, peeled, trimmed and chopped (such as 1-2 parsnips, 3-4 carrots, 1 red, yellow or orange pepper)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
4 cups (1 L) chicken stock
pinch cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1 tsp (5 mL) sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) pure maple syrup (optional)
olive oil, truffle oil or basil oil, to garnish
fresh black pepper, to garnish

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200ºC).
2. Combine vegetables, onion and garlic cloves in large roasting pan. 3. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
4. Roast vegetables for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring halfway through, until carrots are easily pricked with fork and edges of vegetables are starting to turn dark brown and crisp.
5. Transfer vegetables to blender, using rubber spatula to scrape in any remaining olive oil.
6. Add half of the chicken stock and, taking care to avoid splatters, process until smooth, adding more chicken stock if mixture is too thick. Pour purée into saucepan; add remaining chicken stock. (Alternately, transfer vegetables and oil directly into saucepan, add chicken stock and purée with immersion blender.)
7. Add cayenne pepper and, if desired, salt to taste. Add sherry vinegar. Add maple syrup, if using. Head soup over medium-high heat until just boiling.
8. Garnish each serving with olive oil and fresh-ground pepper.

Note: The flavours of this soup are brightened up by a hit of sherry vinegar and maple syrup added at the end of cooking. If you don’t have sherry vinegar, substitute red or white wine vinegar, and if you don’t have maple syrup, use honey.

Kitchen Frau
I am a mother of four, teacher and writer. The kitchen and the garden are my two favourite places to be (and out feeding my chickens). I love healthy cooking using fresh garden ingredients, whole foods and alternative grains.