Sunday Supper: Autumn Root Soup

Mother nature was a bit temperamental this weekend, and Corinne experienced her first big storm with thunder and lightening. She and I are both fighting a cruddy cough and generally not feeling so well. With an abundance of vegetables from the farmer’s market, I attempted to add a bit of comfort to our weekend with a huge pot of soup served alongside some Field Roast Celebration Roast and a bit of Acme sourdough.

I have a bag of conchigliette no. 46 pasta (very tiny shells), that I was saving to put in soup au pistou. But let’s face it, a good soup au pistou can take all day to make and I probably won’t get around to that anytime soon. Since this seemed like the perfect size pasta for this soup, in it went. I have no idea where to find this pasta anymore, so feel free to substitute with any small pasta you like. Little star shapes would be adorable.

The lemon-mint combination adds a touch of brightness to the soup. It’s a flavor combination my Middle Eastern/ Greek grandmother uses in many of her recipes, and I find myself relying on it when the flavor of a dish needs a little balancing out. Go lightly! Done right, no one will guess these two ingredients are in the soup, but their presence can make a world of difference.

Autumn Root Soup

2 T olive oil
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme (or more to taste)
1 tsp. dried basil (or more to taste)
1 tsp. turmeric
1 pinch chipotle chili powder (optional)

All the remaining vegetables can be cut into equal sized (approximately 1/2 inch) pieces:
1/2 cup celery root
2 large carrots
2 red potatoes
1 small turnip
1 parsnip
1 medium zucchini
1 medium bell pepper
2 stalks celery

3-4 tsp Better than Bouillon “no chicken” base
1 cup small pasta
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
salt to taste
juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp. dried mint

1-2 cups Swiss chard leaves, cut into a chiffonade (optional)

In a large, heavy pot (5 quart is perfect) over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions, shallots, thyme, and basil until the onions begin to soften. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add turmeric and chipotle, the remaining vegetables, and a few splashes of water and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the “no chicken” base and enough water to cover the vegetables. Add pasta, garbanzos and a bit of the salt. When the broth begins to bubble, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Stirring occasionally, cook until the pasta is tender and the vegetables are soft. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Crush the mint a little in your hands and add that as well. It’s best to leave the pot on low heat for a short while to let the flavors meld a bit more, or, cool the soup, refrigerate, and rewarm the next day.

Variation: add the Swiss chard during the last ten minutes of cooking.

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