I’m not sure what I love more about this Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup, the astonishing color, or the flavor, which is kind of like butternut squash soup on steroids. Fennel and ginger come to the fore, but it’s got a lot more than that going on, with the smokey caramelized sweetness of roasted beets, leek, shallot and winter squash in the background. My daughter came up with the recipe and when she described the color, I knew I had to try it. It’s perfect for a chilly night, and made to be eaten with a big (buttered) hunk of rustic bread, something like dark rye or pumpernickel would be perfect. It’s a really nice change if you’re wedded to regular winter squash soups, and I think it would get raves at Thanksgiving.
You can play around a bit with the particular winter vegetables you use, and in what proportions… but definitely don’t lose the fennel, the beet, and the butternut squash. This blend has a more defined, less cloying flavor than squash or beet soup alone, but beware of using too many veggies, which can end up giving you a hodge-podge blandness. The vivid color is a result of the combo of orange squash and beet, and it’s worth the price of admission. Here’s how it goes: the veggies get roasted until they are soft, then simmered in broth with some extra flavor boosts. The brilliant crimson blooms as the immersion blender does its job — every soup will be a little different depending on the proportions of ingredients used.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed.
- 1 large or a few small beets, halved lengthwise
- 1 large leek, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- 1 bulb fennel, leafy top trimmed and halved lengthwise
- 2 large shallots, peeled
- 32 oz chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock)
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, minced
- 2 small white potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- dill or fennel fronds
- shredded Gruyere cheese (leave out for paleo/gluten free)
- homemade croutons (leave out for paleo/gluten free)
- Set oven to 375F
- Coat the surface of a baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange the squash, beet, leek, fennel and shallots on the sheet and roast for about 40 minutes until the squash can be pierced easily with the tip of a sharp knife.
- Remove the soft veggies from the pan and continue roasting anything that is not soft for another 20 minutes, or until softened.
- Scoop the flesh from the squash and add to a heavy bottomed soup pot. Peel the skin from the beet, remove any tough outer leaves from the leek, and remove the core from the fennel. Give everything, including the shallots, a rough chop and add them to the pot.
- Pour 3 cups of the stock into the pot, along with the garlic, ginger, potatoes, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Bring everything up to a boil. then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 20-30 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the contents of the pot smooth. Add the rest of the stock to thin the soup and bring back to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasonings, and then serve hot, topped with croutons, grated Gruyere cheese, and a sprig of fennel or dill.
Other possible vegetables to use: carrots, rutabaga, onion, sweet potato, and parsnip.
Follow my Soups and Stews Pinterest board for lots more inspiration—