This started with a bunch of vegetables I had accumulated in the farmers' market that needed using. You really can mix and match, though I've given amounts with what I used. I would repeat the combo, or close to it. A few parsnips, which I don't normally like by themselves too much, really perked up the soup and gave it a nice sweet touch. I also was careful not to over-puree it; little bits of vegetables gave it a nice texture. You could use stock, but I think there is enough flavor in the veg to just use water, and then you can serve it to vegetarians. I did minimal peeling since the veggies were organic, but that's your call —Sally
6 to 8
onion, peeled and quartered
large carrots, quartered lengthwise (unpeeled)
stalks celery, halved
small parsnips, trimmed (unpeeled)
white turnip, peeled and quartered
acorn squash, halved
bosc pears, cut in 1/4-inch cubes, for garnish
Spread the onion, carrots, celery, parsnips and turnip on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the squash on the baking sheet with the cut side down. Use a second baking sheet if there is not enough room. Roast the vegetables until just tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, cut the large veggies in 1-inch chunks. Scrape out and discard the seeds from the squash. Scoop out the pulp and discard the skin.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pot. Add the vegetables and squash to the pot and cook them for a minute or two in the butter. Add enough water to barely cover them. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat, decrease the heat to a simmer, and continue to cook for about 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper.
Puree the vegetables in a food processor. Do not make the mixture too smooth. I had a mishap with a squash soup that I pureed in the blender. It turned out like baby food. Trust me, it was not very appealing. The soup should have nice little flecks of all the vegetables, so that when you taste a spoonful you get tiny hits of parsnip or turnip or carrots. Thin with water as necessary.
Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the pear cubes and cook until the butter browns and the pears have colored slightly. Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with the pears.
I am a home cook,author of a couple of cookbooks and mother. I write for the Boston Globe from time to time. My "kid" just left for college and comes home for cooking lessons. Too bad he was completely uninterested in the process (except when he was little and gingerbread was involved) until now. Without Mom to cook, he's very, very hungry. But it's fun to keep bonding over the stove.
I blog about food and life at www.sallypasleyvargas.com