A plentiful pot of soup is like a return to your childhood home after many months or years away. Every ingredient, like every quilt, stuffed animal or lingering teen heart-throb poster, tells a story and stirs nostalgia. This soup stirred a few tales.
First, there were friends gathered around our dining room table. The Urban Farmer and I shared our roasted chicken, vegetables, and hearty bread. They shared their heartwarming tales of transforming travels in Peru. That chicken became stock, and that stock became a base for this soup.
There was a long photoshoot. It began with meticulously styled, petite portions of chopped vegetables. It ended with a back seat and a trunk FULL of produce. Those excesses became a warm oven of slow roasting tomatoes, a house that smelled of Italy, and finally, a robust red sauce. That red sauce stirred the cravings for comforting tomato soup.
There was a Valentine’s Day break from reclusive hibernation and a bundled excursion to the butcher shop. The return adventure was a blinding blanket of white, a determined dog with a backpack full of bacon, and a very chilling walk on quiet, empty streets. Two honey-cardamom lattes and a chess game later, we were warm enough to think clearly. That bacon belonged in our soup!
Those tales simmered, bubbled and blended into something new.
With one hand on the old, familiar doorknob and the other hovering near the light switch, you hesitate. You breathe in the familiar smell. You hear the distant laughter, complaints and squabbles. You see the homework struggles, the sleepovers, the trophies and toys. Once back in the present moment, your hovering hand flips the light switch, pulls the door knob and closes the door on that childhood chapter. Similarly, each ingredient’s tale hovered, but new moments emerged as well, ready to be recalled with the next bowl of piping hot soup. This is why I slow cook.
Go Stir Some Stories!
Roasted Tomato & Vegetable Soup
About This Recipe: From the homemade stock to the slow roasted tomato sauce, this soup is a journey and a labor for the love of cooking. The result is a hearty vegetable soup that takes advantage of winter’s lingering root vegetables and warms the last chill in the air. Use whatever lingering root vegetables you have. Use a vegetable stock and skip the bacon if you want to avoid meat. Substitute a favorite pasta sauce instead of making your own. Be creative, experiment, and enjoy!
Roasted Tomato & Vegetable Soup
makes 8-10 servings
1/4 cup (half stick) organic, unsalted butter
10 green onions, chopped
A dash of each- salt, pepper, basil, thyme, red pepper
3 local, organic carrots, peeled & sliced
1 local, organic parsnip, peeled & chopped
1 small, local, organic kohlrabi, peeled & chopped
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 quarts homemade chicken stock
2 cups chopped roasted red peppers (or plain peppers)
2 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 pieces of local thick-cut bacon, chopped
Heat the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the green onion and spices, stirring frequently until the onions begin to soften, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
Add the carrots, parsnip, and kohlrabi, sweet potatoes and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer.
Once simmering, add the tomato sauce, celery, and apple cider vinegar.
Reduce the heat to low, add the bacon, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from heat. Season, to taste, with sea salt. Serve hot with a slice of rustic bread.