Monday, January 19, 2009

Slow-Cooked Root Vegetable Soup

I love root vegetables. I love to roast them, microwave them, steam them, and smash them. And I also love to make soups out of them.

I was recently given a beautiful, blue, enameled, cast iron Le Creuset oval French oven. These pots are versatile. They can go on the stove or in the oven, and thus easily transfer from one to the other for braising or slow cooking. I decided to make a slow-cooked root vegetable soup by chopping up a bunch of root veggies, covering them with broth, then cooking them at a low temperature over a long period of time in the oven. The result was absolutely fabulous.

Slow cooking really brings out the sweet flavors in root vegetables while mellowing out any of the harshness. The result is a rich, almost buttery tasting soup that has absolutely no fat in it. It's perfect for lunch or dinner!

Feel free to substitute any other vegetables (whether root veggies or not).

Slow-Cooked Root Vegetable Soup
Serves about 6

8 oz celery root, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
3 carrots, chopped into 2-inch pieces
3 leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed well and chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
6 cups vegetable broth
low-fat Greek yogurt (optional garnish)

Preheat oven to 275˚F.

Put all ingredients into a large, ovenproof pot with a lid. Bring to a simmer on the stove, then place in the oven. Cook for 3 hours, then remove from the oven and take off the lid. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, then puree the soup with an immersion blender.

Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt.