This delightful soup provides an opportunity to appreciate the humble root vegetables that cheer us up in the winter.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound)
- 1 medium russet potato (about 3/4 pound)
- 4 medium carrots (about 1/2 pound)
- 1 large parsnip (about 3/4 pound)
- 2 cups onion, chopped
- 1 bulb garlic
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth and/or water
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Rosemary Walnuts (recipe follows)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 cups minced California walnuts
- 1/4 cup (packed) minced rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Optional: 1/2 cup finely minced onion plus another tablespoon of olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two large baking trays with parchment or foil, and add a tablespoon of olive oil to each. Spread the oil evenly.
- Peel the sweet potatoes, russet potato, carrots, and parsnip. Cut the sides off the parsnip (along the central core) and discard the core. Chop all the vegetables into approximately 1 1/2 -inch chunks (not exact). Spread the onions on one of the trays, along with the carrots and potato – all in a single layer. Slice the top-most tips from the garlic bulb, and place it on the tray with the potato, onions, and carrots.
- Scatter the sweet potato and parsnip pieces on the second tray. Roast in the preheated oven until fork-tender and brown around the edges. (You might need to loosen the pieces from time to time by shaking the trays and/or leveraging them with a small spatula.) Roast the garlic bulb until it's soft enough to give when squeezed. All of this will take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven, your trays, the cut of the vegetables, etc.
- Meanwhile, gently heat the broth and/or water in a soup kettle, covered.
- When the vegetables are roasted, add them to the heated liquid. (In the case of the garlic, let it cool until comfortable to handle, then squeeze the pulp into the soup.
- Simmer over low heat, covered, for about 15 minutes, then blend completely or partially. Taste to adjust salt and add some black pepper.
- Serve hot, topped with a generous sprinkling of Rosemary Walnuts.
- Place a wide (10-inch) skillet over medium heat and wait about a minute. Add the olive oil, and swirl to coat the pan. Add the walnuts and rosemary, and turn the heat to low. Stirring frequently, pan-roast the nuts until deep golden brown. This will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes (possibly, but not likely, longer) depending on the pan and your stove. You want the walnuts deeply toasted, but, of course, not burned. Add the salt when they're done.
- For extra flavor, you can remove the walnuts from the pan and add an extra tablespoon of olive oil. Add 1/2 cup finely minced onion, and cook over medium heat until the onion is brown and beginning to get crunchy. Add the Rosemary Walnuts back in at the end, and toss to combine. (This extra touch is truly delicious!)