Monday, September 28, 2009

Root Vegetable Soup

The rainy weather last week made me feel like fall was really here, so I was craving fall type foods. And I thought, what better than making a root vegetable soup? I was going to follow a recipe and then didn't really follow it at all. I was at Whole Foods, appreciating the selection of vegetables they just don't have at Publix (at least not the tiny one I do most of my shopping at). Rutabaga? Sure, I'll figure out something. Parsnips, they're kind of like carrots, right? So I found a soup recipe, after buying these things, that called for turnips, so I ran to Publix (turnips are normal enough to have at Publix, especially at this time of year). The recipe I was following didn't have any seasonings besides onions and garlic, and I just didn't that would do. I had some leftover fresh thyme from my ratatouille (which I still need to post, oops), added that, but it didn't seem, fall-y enough. So I dug up a little fennel (my spice cabinet is full of useless spices), but only put a little in because I'm not a huge fan of the fennel flavor, I just wanted enough to make it taste like autumn. And what else tastes like autumn? Cinnamon of course! (Actually considering I put cinnamon in everything from chili to chocolate pudding to stews, cinnamon tastes like all seasons, but I guess I especially associate it with the cooling temperatures). And I also added my other go to ingredient when something is bland: red pepper flakes. Oh, one more thing, I forgot to buy celery, but I happened to have a can of tomatoes with celery and green peppers, so I used that instead of regular tomatoes, but more celery would have been better.

The soup is decent, I'd say it was better today then Saturday when I first made it. If the pot had been larger, I could have added more water and hence cooked up some Trader Joe's Harvest Grain Blend in it, but there just wasn't room in my 5 quart pot.

On a more personal note, I've never cooked with rudabagas before and had little experience with them. I did not try a raw piece, but they smelled very much like colarabi, which I think I remember liking last time I had it. But my goodness is rudabaga hard to chop. Definitely get small ones so you have less to cut through.

Root Vegetable Soup
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small rudabaga, peeled and cubed
3 turnips, peeled and cubed
3 parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 vegetable boulion cubes
1 can tomatoes with celery and green peppers with juice
5+ cups water
Fennel, to taste
1/2 tsp+ cinnamon
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Thyme (optional)

Prepare veggies
Heat up oil in large pot, then add onion and garlic and cook for a while. Then add tomatoes, veggies, boulion cubes, and enough water to make a soupy consistency (I didn't have room in my pot to add enough to make it true "soup" rather than stew). You might want to add more boulion if you are adding lots of water. Add spices and cook until vegetables are tender (my recipe said 45 minutes, but it was less than this because I cut most of the vegetables pretty small). Check the taste midway through to determine if you need more of any spices. I always can go for more cinnamon personally, and I think I added extra garlic powder midway through because it wasn't garlicy enough (even though I upped the recipe from one clove to 3).

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