This mild and hearty soup is perfect for the slightly chilly evenings we're starting to get here in Northern California. Roasting the vegetables accomplishes two things. First, it reduces and simplifies your total cook time. You can get the vegetables roasting at your convenience, and let them hang in the oven and cool until you're ready to make your soup. Second, roasting vegetables gives them a rounder, sweeter flavor than you can get by simply cooking them in a pot of broth or sauteing them in a pan. I'm tempted to call this soup Garlic and Roasted Vegetable Soup because, being the kamikaze garlic eaters that we are, I put an entire head of roasted garlic into the batch I made last night. I know that many people don't have this kind of devil-may-care attitude toward the stinky rose, so I'm modifying the recipe below for saner pallets. In the meantime, have a pleasant thought for the poor folks who might end up on the treadmill next to mine this morning as a fog of garlic smelling sweat blooms off of me during my run. Hopefully they feel, as I do, that garlic is a perfectly good thing to smell like, but more likely, they do not feel that way.
Garlicky Roasted Vegetable Soup
First, roast your vegetables:
2 c diced winter squash (I used banana squash, which is similar to butternut. I tend to gravitate toward these kinds because you can chop them up, skin and all. I positively loathe peeling squash)
3 medium sized carrots, sliced
2 smallish zucchinis, diced
garlic (I used an entire head because I'm fearless like that. You should use as much as you think you can stand. And then a little bit more.)
oregano and rosemary
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Combine all veggies on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with herbs, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring every ten or so until the vegetables and garlic are soft and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool if you're not quite ready to make the soup yet.
Assemble the soup:
1 medium sweet onion, diced
roasted vegetables from above
2 c beans (I used a mixture of kidneys and pintos because that's what I had in my freezer.)
2 cubes veggie broth
3 T tomato paste
4 c water
Saute the onion in the olive oil over low heat for 20 minutes. The point here is to caramelize them, so you'll be looking for hint of golden color. When you're happy with your onions, add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes to let the flavors mingle.
We had this soup with these olive and onion bread rolls from this adorable blog. I highly recommend them. They were easy and really fast, for yeast breads. The combined rising time is less than an hour! I subbed green olives for the kalamatas, but I feel that was a mistake. I think they need the dense saltiness of a more pungent olive to really meet their full potential. I also used a simple egg replacer of 1T cornstarch and 2T water in place of the Ener-G because I'm lazy. It didn't seem to matter at all.