Roasted Root Vegetables Reinvented

wpid-0416141949a.jpgIt may be springtime, but let’s face it: the weather can be crazy and unpredictable. For those not-so-springlike nights this season, I’ve got a recipe for Roasted Root Vegetable Soup with Homemade Thyme Croutons that’ll give you an excuse to transform leftovers and get the most out of your farmers’ market finds.

wpid-0415141945.jpgThis recipe is a classic example of technique. Once you master it, you can substitute whatever ingredients you choose. Roma tomatoes and onions would be absolutely fantastic with a grilled cheese sandwich. I made Roasted Root Vegetable Soup using leftover carrots and turnips that I’d made for Easter dinner with my Roasted Leg of Lamb and Mint Chutney. I seasoned the vegetables with salt and pepper, then tossed them in a good quality olive oil and roasted them at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. I love reinventing leftovers. It’s ultimately fun to create something totally new with the same ingredients from another dish.

wpid-0416141858.jpgIn a food processor or a blender, puree the vegetables until fluid, adding a little chicken broth or water to help the vegetables liquefy. You can also use an immersion blender, but that’s a fancy tool I’ve yet to acquire. If you’d like your soup to have a little texture, don’t puree them totally. Just pulse your blender a few times, leaving some of the vegetables chunky. I enjoy bites of carrot here and there, rather than pure creaminess, but it’s personal preference.

wpid-0416141944.jpgTransfer the pureed vegetables to a stock pot. Then add 3 – 4 cups of chicken broth. Season to taste with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Let simmer over medium-low heat for at least 30 minutes.

wpid-0416141944a.jpgI just so happened to have a french baguette on my counter top that was more than a few days old. What better way to give stale bread new life than to chop it into cubes and make crunchy croutons? I did just that. With the Holy Trinity of kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil, I added dried thyme, and roasted them in the oven, also at 425 degrees, for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.

wpid-0416141949b.jpgIf you look closely, you can see chunks of carrot adding texture to the soup. With a pop of green color from my carrot tops for garnish and the addition of my Homemade Thyme Croutons, soup never tasted better on a cool, springtime night.

Here’s a quick look at what you’ll need:

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup featuring Carrots and Turnips

  • 1 Bunch Carrots, peeled 
  • 3 Large Turnips, chopped 
  • 3-4 cups Chicken Broth
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Dried Oregano
  • Parsley or Green Carrot Tops for Garnish

Homemade Thyme Croutons

  • Day old bread or Stale Bread, such as a French or Italian baguette
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Dried Thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil or enough to coat bread well

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

An Easter Feast of Roasted Leg of Lamb and Mint Chutney

wpid-0415141955.jpg
An Easter Feast featuring Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mint Chutney, Roasted Root Vegetables, Rosemary Mashed Potatoes and Blanched Snap Peas.

At my house, it wouldn’t be a dinner party without the smoke alarm sounding at least once or my Shih Tzu, Ewok howling to the top of his lungs and doing the happy dance each time a new guest arrives at the door. That was the scene on a rainy Tuesday night recently when I invited my boyfriend and two close friends over for an early Easter feast. It was an occasion special enough for fine china and the antique, linen seashell napkins my mother gave me. On the menu?

  • Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mint Chutney
  • Locally Roasted Root Vegetables: Turnips and Carrots
  • Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
  • Blanched Snap Peas
  • Open-Faced Apple Pie
  • Malbec Red Wine

I had visited the Statesboro Main Street Farmers’ Market earlier that day for some help with side dishes, and came across these beauties from Poor Robin’s Produce grown in Screven County. Though they took more work to prepare, roasted with a good quality olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, the vegetables were tender to the taste and colorful on the platter. These vegetables keep giving and giving…with the leftover roasted vegetables from dinner, the next day I made the most hearty and comforting Roasted Turnip and Carrot Soup with homemade croutons. I’ve begun to think like a real chef, using up every ounce of the produce possible. I even garnished my soup with the green carrot tops. Turnip greens are up next.

wpid-0415142006.jpg
Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mint Chutney surrounded by Locally Roasted Carrots and Turnips

For the Leg of Lamb:

  • One 4 -Pound Leg of Lamb
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves, slivered
  • Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as Bella D ‘Olivia
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Directions:
Leave the fat on the lamb. Don’t trim it. It adds flavor and keeps the meat moist throughout roasting. Pre-heat the over to 450 degrees. With a sharp knife, make small slits throughout the meat. Insert the slivered garlic cloves into the slits. Season the lamb with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle the meat with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then massage the seasonings and oil all over the meat. Place the meat in roasting pan, fitted with a rack. If you don’t have one, a 9 x 13 casserole dish will work just as well. Fill the roasting pan with an inch of water.  Roast the meat at 450 degrees for the first 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and check to see if the water has evaporated, if so, add more. Reduce the heat to 400 degrees. Cook the meat for 20 minutes per pound for medium well, or 15 minutes per pound for medium rare.

Reason #429 to visit your local farmers’ market: TO GET RECIPES!! When I purchased a large Zip-Lock bag of fresh mint, this little jewel was attached to it with a paper clip.

wpid-0415142003c.jpg
The mint chutney (pictured at right in the jar) was bright and refreshing with the bold flavor of lamb.

For the Mint Chutney:

  • 2 1/2 Cups Chopped Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 1/3 Cup Minced Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/3 Cup White Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Directions:
In a medium bowl, mix the mint, onion, sugar, vinegar, cayenne pepper and salt. Cover the mixture and refrigerate 2 hours, or until chilled.

wpid-0415142003.jpgI took  great pleasure in carving the meat at the table to the sound of my guests’ ooos and ahhhs.

These side dishes and our dessert rounded out the meal perfectly.

wpid-0415142012.jpgLeg of Lamb is definitely a cause for fine china.

wpid-0415142108a.jpgEmpty plates all around = full bellies and full hearts.

wpid-0417142228.jpgThe sign that hangs above two french doors in my kitchen sums up the evening perfectly.

Have you eaten lamb before? If so, how did you prepare it and what did you think?