Monday, 16 April 2012

Easiest ever roast veg soup

I love veggie soups, although technically they don't go very well with a low carb diet. However, post workout I sometimes indulge in hot soup and bread. Of course with some chicken added in, it would probably make a bit more of a balanced meal. I just try to balance by eating plenty of protein at other meals the day I'm having soup. 

I usually make my veggie soups by just chopping up all ingredients in a large saucepan with chicken stock and cooking it all until veggies go soft and then puree the whole lot. To mix it up a bit, I was excited to find this recipe where the veggies were first roasted. The recipe that gave me the idea is from Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). The original soup is served with whipped cream with marjoram, which I omitted for obvious reasons. It does sound delicious though, so if you don't need to count your calories, it is probably worth a try (and a swirl of white cream in the orange soup looks very beautiful). Also, the original recipe uses much more oil for the roasting, again sounds very delicious if you don't mind the added calories.

This is a super easy and quick dish to make, all you need is to roughly chop up the veggies, toss them in oil and spices and leave to roast while you can go about with your business. Finishing up the soup after roasting only takes another 5 minutes or so if you use boiling hot chicken stock (boil the kettle, pour hot water in a saucepan and add in chicken stock and the roast veggie puree and you should have your soup bubbling away in no time). If you really want to minimize preparation time, pre-roast your veggies the day before and just leave the finishing touches of pureeing and heating to when you get home at the end of the day. And as other soups, this freezes very well, so make a big batch and freeze as single portions for a quick and easy lunch or dinner some other day. 

Ingredients (serves 4):
3 sweet potatoes
3 parsnips
6 carrots
500 g celeriac
2 onions
5 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 l chicken (or veggie) stock
1-2 tsp Harissa paste 

Chop up the veggies, onions and peel cloves of garlic, toss in the oil and cayenne pepper on a roasting tray. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until nice and soft with edges charring lightly. Puree with some of the chicken stock. Add the rest of the chicken stock and Harissa paste, bring to a boil. Taste and season if needed. Serve piping hot with rye bread.

One serving contains approximately 350 kcal (9.8 g total fat, 64 g total carbs, 6.4 g protein). I use MyFitnessPal to calculate nutritional information, and these should be regarded as approximations only.

The verdict:
I love the idea of roasting the veggies before pureeing, it gives the soup a nice, distinct taste. It's definitely worth the extra hassle (and to be honest, there really isn't a hassle at all). Of course it brings in some extra calories in form of the rapeseed oil. I guess for that reason I will mainly stick to my method of cooking the veggies in chicken (or veggie) stock, but will probably make this one from time to time for some variation. 
For variation, you could also use any veggies you like, next time maybe I'll add some butternut squash or maybe swede. Celeriac is a root I don't usually use very much, but I liked it very much in this soup. Also, the sweetness of the carrots and sweet potatoes contrasts really well with the sharpness of the Harissa paste. And the crispiness of the toasted rye bread goes so well with the smoothness of the soup, it not only tastes, but also feels great to eat.

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