Roasted Root veg and walnut bisque

roasted root veg soup

I like the idea of walnuts and root vegetables combined in a soup – all this earthy nutty sweetness called to mind a meal you could make after foraging for nuts and roots on an autumn day. I could imagine Peter Rabbit’s mother making this soup, or maybe Mole of Mole end.

This is a smooth, tawny soup. It’s flavored with caraway seeds and thyme, which is a delicious and mysterious combination – they combine to make something quite different from their familiar, individual tastes. I made a rich flavorful broth, with french lentils, mushrooms, tomato paste, tamari and marmite, but you could use any vegetable broth you like. And the same goes for the root vegetables…I used quite a variety – turnips, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots… but you could narrow it down to a few favorites if you like.

Serve with shavings of good sharp cheddar, which goes well with caraway seeds and walnuts, and contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the vegetables.

Here’s Jimmy Smith’s killer Root Down (and get it). Guess who sampled this?

I started the broth earlier in the day. I warmed some olive oil and then threw in roughly chopped shallot, carrot, mushrooms, those little garlic cloves you don’t feel like peeling (crushed) a handful of french lentils, some rosemary, some thyme, a few bay leaves, a dash of tamari, a half-teaspoon of marmite and a teaspoon of tomato paste. Add water to cover by quite a bit. Bring it all to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for as long as you like. Half an hour’s fine, an hour’s better.

about 4 cups chopped root veg of your choice
1 shallot
2 T butter
1 t. flour
1/2 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 t. caraway seeds, lightly crushed
1 t. thyme
2 bay leaves
Vegetable broth (see above!)
salt/black pepper
dollop of butter
dash of balsamic

Peel all of the vegetables you’ll be using, and cut them into 1/2 inch dice. Cut up a shallot, too. I had about 4 cups of veg, total. As many as would fit in a single layer on my baking sheet. Toss with a few Tablespoons of olive oil, enough to coat everything lightly, and put them in a 425 degree oven to roast for about half an hour. They should become brown and soft, but not to caramelized or crispy for this particular recipe!

MEANWHILE… make the walut broth…

In a large soup pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the flour till it’s well mixed. Add the caraway seeds, thyme, bay leaves and walnut. Stir till everything’s coated and let it cook for a few mintues till everything just starts to brown.

Add about 1 cup of broth and stir or whisk well. Add about three more cups broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring. You’ll want to cook it at least half an hour (while the veg roasts!). It will never get very thick, but it should be nice and velvety.

When the veg is done, put it right into the soup pot from the baking sheet. Stir everything together, and add more broth to cover the veg by about an inch. Stir and cook for 5 or ten more minutes. Then add a dollop of butter, a dash of balsamic, and blend in small batches till quite smooth. (Remember to hold the lid on, and watch out for splattering hot soup!)

Season with salt and plenty of black pepper.

Serve with shavings of good cheddar.

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