I make roasted vegetables at least once a week all winter. It's so pleasant to warm the house, to make it smell good, and then to have that panful of roasted vegetables that could be boring but now are glazed with olive oil and sherry, sweetly caramelized, dark brown around the edges. If possible, use homemade broth for this soup, one that is not too sweet. The roasted vegetables will provide plenty of sweetness. Recipe from Love Soup* by Anna Thomas.
To make roasted root vegetables
- 1 pound rutabagas
- 1 pound turnips
- 1 pound sweet yams
- 1 pound fennel
- 12 ounces carrots
- 2 pounds onions
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry
For the soup
- ⅓ cup pearl barley
- ½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 5 to 7 cups any basic vegetable broth
- 4 cups roasted root vegetables
- ½ cup whole leaves fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 to 3 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- Optional garnish: Fruity green olive oil
First, roast your vegetables [Anna notes that the recipe yields about double the amount of roasted vegetables you’ll actually need for the soup, which you can use in any way you’d like. But if you want to make only what’s needed for the soup, cut the recommended amounts in half]:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Peel and dice all the vegetables to a fairly uniform size, about 1 inch. The onions can be cut in slightly larger pieces, as they are less dense. You should have about 3 cups each of the diced rutabagas, turnips, yams, and fennel, 1 ⅔ cup of diced carrots, and 6 cups of cut onions.
Mix the vegetables together in a large bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper to taste, thyme, sage, and sherry. Vary the amount of herbs to your taste; the amounts given here will add a subtle flavor to the vegetables but won’t dominate.
Spread the vegetables over two shallow baking pans and roast them for an hour or a little longer, until they are tender and flecked with dark brown spots.
Mix and turn the vegetables a few times during the roasting, and about midway through reverse the position of the pans between upper and lower racks in the oven. The vegetables will reduce in volume as they roast, and you should have about 8 cups when they are done.
To make the soup:
Combine the barley in a large soup pot with 1 ½ cups water, a dash of salt, and 5 cups vegetable broth. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer the barley, covered, for 35 minutes. The barley will swell to two or three times its original size and maintain its distinctive chewy texture.
Add 4 cups of the roasted vegetables (you can coarsely chop them first if the pieces look too large to you) and simmer the soup for about 15 minutes to marry the flavors. Taste, and add more salt if it is needed. Add the parsley and sherry vinegar during the last few minutes. If the soup seems too thick, add another cup or so of vegetable broth.
I like to finish the soup with my favorite garnish, a swirl of fruity olive oil.
Warm yourself up with more fall harvest soup recipes.
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