Christmas has come and gone, but this delicious root vegetable soup will lift the spirits and warm you up with its rich flavors.
THE END OF DECEMBER… AND A FRIDGE FULL OF FOOD
Once again, Christmas has passed and the festive month of December is drawing to an end. I spent a few wonderful days cocooning with my family, watching old movies, drinking eggnog, eating the foods that have become tradition, laughing, crying… and generally feeling very blessed, as cliché as that may sound. But ah those post-holidays blues and the leftovers it comes with. My fridge is still full with all kinds of charcuterie, cheeses, cream, roast meats, vegetables and even a large chunk of bûche de noël. The realization that I will probably not have to cook for the rest of the week is rather comforting, especially after the hours I’ve spent in the kitchen preparing elaborate meals.
PUTTING LEFTOVERS TO GOOD USE
And one of the best leftover dishes to make is, of course, soup. Not the kind of soup that screams feelings of guilt after the excesses of Christmas, but the kind that soothes the soul, fortifies the spirit and still feels festive enough to brighten a dreary late December afternoon. I came up with the following recipe which is exactly just that; a thick and hearty soup full of robust winter flavors. And it’s quite a versatile recipe, too. The celeriac and parsnip can be replaced by any other root vegetables you may still have lying around at the bottom of your fridge, though I wouldn’t use the type that are too sweet as what you want is a soup with earthy, rich flavors. Enjoy this soup… and the last few days of 2017.
- 2 tbsps mild olive oil
- 1 leek, cleaned and sliced into rings
- 80ml sweet (moelleux) white wine
- 400g celeriac, cubed
- 350g parsnips, cubed
- 1 L good-quality vegetable or chicken stock
- 3 tbsps single cream
- 6 strips of bacon
- 3 tbsps garlic-chili oil
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- Pinch of red chili flakes
- Freshly cracked pepper
Heat the mild olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pan and gently cook the leeks for 5 minutes, Increase the heat, add the wine and let it bubble away for a few minutes, until it is nearly evaporated. Add the vegetables followed by the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook covered for 20 minutes. In meantime, fry the bacon in a dry frying pan until crisp. Drain on paper towels and clean out the pan. Place the garlic-chili oil in the same pan and heat gently together with the garlic, parsley and chilli flakes. You want to infuse the oil with added flavor, not fry the garlic and parsley. After a few minutes, it should be done and the garlic should not have colored. Add the cream to the soup and puree to the desired consistency. I like mine a little on the chunky side. Serve the soup in shallow bowls and garnish each portion with the flavorful oil, crumbled bacon and a few turns of the pepper mill.