Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup

Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup with Guanciale and Celery Salad Topping

First featured on Clemson Area Food Exchange newsletter
Recipe and photos by Amanda Callahan of Callywood Farms, Edited and words by Ellie Sharp

Ready for another super easy, super versatile and super delicious recipe? Keep on reading! I love roasted turnips: the cooking process brings out the sweetness of this misunderstood root veggie and makes them approachable for those who shy away. That said, turnips do tend to have a “love ‘em or hate ‘em” reputation, so I wanted to make something that would be appealing to fans and could-be fans alike. Soup seemed a natural place to start with its cozy vibe well-suited for our current cold temperatures.

But, how could I make unconvinced turnip eaters more interested? Enter the ever-popular garden darlings: potatoes and carrots. By pureeing and blending the turnips with these beloved add-ins, you get the best of both worlds: full, rich flavor without the pronounced turnip twang. Win!

If you’re still unsure, let me give you a little firm-but-polite nudge. Put your support-the-farmers-money-where-your-mouth-is, step outside your comfort zone and bring a variety of vegetables and meat cuts into your home. Buy the turnips, grab and cure the pork jowl and let’s get these overlooked items onto your plate! 

Pro tip: Save all your resulting veggie peelings to make stock. Keep a freezer bag in your freezer and add onion, carrot and celery peelings/ends until it’s full. Mushroom stems, some potato peelings and herbs stems are other great additions, but steer clear of brassica items (cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc.). Once the bag is full, add to a large pot or stock pot with leftover bones, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer on low for three to four hours (or longer if you wish). Add water as needed to keep ingredients covered while they cook. Strain and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
2 turnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 pounds carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large onion or several small, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, leaves removed and saved, cut into large chunks
2 heads of garlic
1 handful of roasting blend of fresh herbs, chopped (or more to taste)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 slices guanciale or thick-cut bacon, sliced into lardons (small strips or cubes)
6 cups stock
½ lemon, juiced

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. On a large rimmed sheet pan, layer all the vegetables in a single layer, using two pans if you must (you won’t get the charred edges with an overcrowded pan). Drizzle with oil, season aggressively with salt, pepper, and herbs. Toss to coat. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until charred in spots, flipping and rotating pan halfway through cooking time.
  3. While the vegetables cook, mince the celery leaves and place in a small bowl. Add lemon juice and cracked black pepper. Mix thoroughly, set aside.
  4. In a large soup pot set over medium heat, crisp the jowl or bacon pieces. Remove from heat, set aside. Remove all but 1-2 tablespoons of the fat from the pot. 
  5. When the vegetables are done, place in a high-power blender with 2 cups of stock and puree until smooth. Alternatively, put vegetables and stock into the soup pot and use an immersion blender to puree.
  6. Pour the puree into the soup pot and set to low heat. Add the rest of the stock and simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Adjust seasoning to your liking.

To serve: ladle soup into bowls. Top each with crispy guanciale or bacon pieces and a scoop of the celery leaf salad. I also was thinking a chili oil would perk it up nicely as well. Enjoy!

Substitutions: The vegetables are pretty interchangeable here. Try rutabaga, squash — whatever you’ve got in the fridge that needs to be used. If you’re vegetarian/vegan, replace the pork with chickpeas roasted in a hot oven until crispy and browned.

Homemade Ricotta

I know I have mentioned this before, but if you didn’t know, we have easy access to raw milk. In SC, raw milk is legal to sell. We hadn’t even tasted raw milk prior to moving here. In CO, you had to buy a share (upwards of $150) of a farm and then buy a gallon (upwards of $10). I had read a lot about the tasty, nutritious, mysterious raw milk, but it had never passed my lips. A neighbor told us about a little family farm, really close to us, Harmony Dairy. I’ll have to do a post in the future, just so you can see pictures of where I go to buy my milk. It’s literally the farm your parents told you that “Rover” went to when he got too old. I get out of my jeep after going through multiple chained gates (free roaming animals are happy, but also dangerous for cars!) and pull up to a refrigerated cooler that says, “Drink Milk.” I put my $5 in a little tool box and grab my delicious raw, un-homogenized, full-fat, cream on the top milk. On my way out, I usually pet a calf or two, whisper to a pig of give a loving nudge to a dog or chicken. Are you in love yet?

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We aren’t big milk drinkers. My milk usually ends up fermented in some variety (yogurt or kefir), in a roux, and I use it in my coffee every morning. I usually get a gallon every two weeks. Except recently I’ve been buying more and more, ever since making homemade ricotta! I’ve never been a big ricotta fan. I mean I buy it once a year when I make lasagna and never think much of it. That has definitely changed.

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While it takes some time (not much though compared to any other cheese), it is definitely worth it. You have a few minutes while the milk heats. Go nuts. Me? I play with this beauty.

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I’m shameless. Sorry. I couldn’t let one post go by without a pic!

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I heat the milk with the acid (lemon juice) and the curds and whey separate and just before it erupts into a boil is when I shut off the heat. You can see the bubbles about to surface and the temp is around 200-205.

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And then the straining begins. It takes a little while for me as I only have this little sieve. Quadrupled lined with cheesecloth, it’s ready to go. I pour and drain and pour some more and drain some more.

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Almost there…

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You can stop the straining process when it looks and feels like ricotta to you. I like mine a little on the wet side. Then I liberally sprinkle with sea salt. And eat it. And occasionally it makes it into a beautiful dish like this one.

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Summer squash and ricotta galette. Divine.

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Or on a plate alongside crackers and fig jam for an elegant snack.

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Or on top of a plate full of pasta instead of parmesan for a rich, creamy addition. So, go ahead, make some ricotta. I promise you’ll find ways to use it!

Homemade Ricotta

Adapted from: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/06/how-to-make-ricotta-cheese-from-scratch.html

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 gallon whole milk (DO NOT use ultra-pasteurized milk, which is basically any organic milk sold at the grocery store. It will not curdle, I learned this the hard way a long time ago! If you don’t have access to fresh milk, look in the store for a low-pasteurized alternative. For instance, I know Publix’s whole milk is low-pasteurized).
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (From 1-3 lemons. I had super juicy lemons and only needed 1.)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup heavy cream (you might need this addition if using whole milk from the store), salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large, heavy-bottom pot (dutch oven or cast iron is great here), add milk and lemon juice, stir briefly.
  2. Set heat to medium-low heat. Heat milk until it reaches 175 degrees at this setting. This take about 30-50 minutes.
  3. After it hits 175 degrees, raise the heat to medium-high and watch closely. You will see the curds begin to separate from the whey (pictured above) and the whole thing will look like it’s about to erupt into a rolling boil. Shut the heat off before this happens. Let it sit for a few minutes while you get the straining station set up.
  4. Over a large bowl, set your sieve and quadruple line it with cheesecloth. Pour the curds and whey into the bowl and let it drain. I keep adding liquid as it drains down. It takes me about three dumps. I get in there with a spatula (pictured above) and help the liquid get under the curds by lifting and folding with the spatula.
  5. Once it looks and feels like ricotta to you, it’s done! Again, I liberally sprinkle with sea salt, but do your to your taste preference. Yes, this means start eating it now.
  6. Keep in air-tight container in fridge for over a week.

Kale Hummus (kid approved!)

We have quite an obsession with hummus in this house. I usually make a batch every week. And our consumption has increased since a certain Farm Baby discovered hummus. She loves the stuff!

Side Note (if you are interested in some of our parenting/baby related thoughts, keep reading, if not just skip below for the goods on the hummus):

Since food is such an important part of our life, it is something that we spent a lot of time talking about how we wanted to create an environment that was food loving and a kid that would eat what we eat. Once Farm Baby was ready for solids, we decided to start from that point, let her eat what we are eating. Let her see the direct connect between what we put in our mouths and what goes in hers. Chicken for dinner? Let her gnaw on a chicken bone. Broccoli? Let a couple extra-big stalks steam for a few minutes longer so that she can pick them up and easily “chew” some off. You get the point. Anyways, 13 months in and so far very successful. She eats what we eat, we don’t make a separate baby meal, we try not to fuss over how much she eats or if she doesn’t eat what we put in front of her, but most importantly, we let her have food choices. We offer her a variety of foods and let her decide the pace and what she wants to eat (by not spoon-feeding/forcing food)…OK, end side note (if you want more information on this whole skipping purees & babies eating real food madness, check out “Baby-Led Weaning”).

Back to hummus: Anyways, one of the tough things to get a baby to eat is greens…from a logistical standpoint. They don’t make great finger foods. She recently started drinking some morning smoothies, which I usually make green and add spinach, kale, arugula…whatever is in the fridge for added nutrition. She LOVES them. Win. And then, I came across this gem of a blog and recipe. Genius for not only sneaking more greens into an adult diet, but also brilliant for a babe that shovels hummus in by the fistful. I already had some chickpeas on the stove simmering and had kale in the fridge when I came across it. So I made it instantly with a few changes as I didn’t have the patience to roast garlic at the moment. I can’t wait to make another batch and try it with roasted garlic!

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Enjoy watching Farm Baby discover bright green yummy hummus! I hope this inspires you to add some greens into your hummus!

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First bite…not too sure about this, Ma.

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Not so bad, I kinda liked it!

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Okay, I loved it so much I smeared it all over my face, belly, and even added some green highlights to my strawberry blonde locks!

Recipe: Kale Hummus

Adapted from: http://blog.freepeople.com/2012/09/roasted-garlic-kale-hummus-glutenfree-vegan/

Ingredients:

  • About 2 cups of garbanzo beans* (One large can or 1 cup dried)
  • Juice from one lemon (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 large kale leaves, stems removed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2-4 TB EVOO
  • Sea salt, pepper (black or crushed red)**

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and process until combined. You may need to scrape down the sides/add more liquid to suit your needs.

*I prefer freshly cooked chickpeas. I soak my beans overnight in water (8-12 hours). Drain, fill with filtered water so that beans are covered and cook. Depending on freshness of beans and how long you soaked this can take anywhere from 25-60 minutes. If you are doing this method, reserve some cooking liquid to use in the recipe, you will need about 1/4 – 1/2 cup.

** If using freshly cooked beans, you will need a good amount of salt. Start at a teaspoon and keep adjusting, tasting along the way. I think I used close to 1 1/2-2 tspn.

Curried Tofu and Avocado Dip

Music: Thievery Corporation, The Richest Man in Babylon
Menu:
Curried Tofu and Avocado Dip w/crudites, grilled portobello burgers, corn on the cob, sweet potato fries, and a blackberry, nectarine crisp for dessert


I know, you’re thinking, another tofu recipe?!? Well, we had a good friend of ours over for dinner last weekend and we had been talking the last time we saw him about eating vegetarian (even though we obviously are not). He mentioned that the next time we did dinner together we should cook him a veg meal. I always like to try to introduce people who don’t eat vegetarian to new foods, meals, and ideas. So, I thought this was a good intro to tofu.

The recipe was good, but I found it need a bit more seasoning – I added another garlic clove and a bit more curry powder and I feel it still could have used more. Other than that, it was a great and light appetizer to a wonderful evening 🙂

Curried Tofu and Avocado Dip
from Food & Wine

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces of silken tofu
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1 tspn lime zest
  • 2 TB fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 tspn honey
  • 1 tspn curry powder
  • 2 TB mint
  • Pepper
  • Cucumber slices, carrot sticks, pita chips (rosemary, garlic, sea salt)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor combine all inredients (except cucumber, carrots, and pita chips) and puree until smooth. Season with S & P to taste.
  2. Chill dip until ready to serve and serve alongside veggies and pita chips.