A Winter Soup Perfect for the Home Cook
As regular readers of my column will know, my first cookbook was part of the first, and only, encyclopedia set we ever ordered for our daughter. If you’re under 50 years old, I bet you not only never bought an encyclopedia set, you may not even have known they were a thing.
My second was Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Cookbook. It was one heck of a cookbook and still is. I learned to cook from that one.
Then I began to buy chefs’ cookbooks. Like a kid, I always loved the pictures. One, The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller, was gorgeous, but I never cooked a single recipe from it. The recipes looked easy, just eight or seven ingredients, but embedded were words like “see page this or see page that.” To finish the entrée or dessert, I would have had to make two or three different recipes first. Yeah, no.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about buying cookbooks I will actually cook from.
Today I buy cookbooks written by the brilliant Jacques Pépin and the television star Ina Garten; I own books from the Moosewood Collective along with Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso. These people are cooks, teachers, and recipe writers, not just restaurant chefs who might not fully understand how to write for the home cook.
Jacques buys most of his ingredients from farmers’ markets or Stop & Shop. Ina Garten shops in the Hamptons. They both have their own gardens. Sheila Lukins cooked for her own little shop called the Silver Palate. New Haven’s own Claire Criscuolo’s Claire’s Corner Copia books are treasures.
So here’s the deal: In this recipe, there are 18 ingredients. Sure, that’s a lot, but nine are veggies. A bunch, literally, are herbs. There is some liquid. Most of the ingredients are probably in your own kitchen. The soup will feed 8 to 10 people and cost you maybe $15. And I found that recipe from Yankee magazine, which couldn’t be more New England-ish. This soup is delicious.
Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roasted Winter Vegetable and White Bean Chowder
From “In the Thick of It” by Nadine Nelson
Yankee, January-February, 2022
2 ½ cups diced butternut squash
2 ½ cups sliced carrots
2 cups diced russet potatoes
1 cup diced parsnips
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 cups diced onion
1 cup diced celery
5 fresh thyme sprigs
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour (all-purpose or gluten-free)
8 cups vegetable stock
(chicken stock if you are not a vegetarian)
2 14-ounce cans cooked white beans, drained
2 cups sliced mushrooms, any kind
2 cups milk of your choice (2 percent is fine)
Fresh thyme sprigs and ground paprika or
smoked for garnish
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the first five veggies in 2 tablespoons olive and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Divide vegetables between two large rimmed baking sheets and roast until tender and browned, about 40 minutes, turning them a few times while roasting.
While vegetables are roasting, prepare the soup base: Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add onions, celery, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, black pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Add stock and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and milk, bring to a simmer, and stir in roasted vegetables. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot, garnished with fresh thyme and a sprinkle or paprika.