Mirepoix Soup

I’ve been making pureed vegetable soups for years and the recipe just keeps getting simpler and better. When I first started making them a dozen years ago, I’d add the vegetables, along with broth and a little flavoring, to a sautéing onion–a competent, but rather uninspired concoction.

Eventually I realized that if I sautéd the vegetables along with the onion, the soup would be more flavorful, and so for a few years that became my new way. Except that since the vegetables in these soups act as both flavoring and thickener, you need a lot of them, and sautéing a lot of them in a little soup kettle takes time.

So then it occurred to me that I could save time if I simply roasted the vegetables while the onions were sautéing. And because there was so much room on that roasting pan, the vegetables browned even more impressively and produced an even more flavorful soup.

But then a few weeks ago when Maggy and I were making a cauliflower soup I got new enlightenment. This soup was such a good lesson for both of us, because Maggy came up with the brilliant idea to enrich this vegetarian soup with coconut milk (recipe to come), and it finally dawned on me that I could roast all the vegetables–onions included–and that except for heating the soup, there was no need to cook it stovetop.

I wanted to come up with an unusual version of this soup–one I had never thought of before. Not an easy task! But I started thinking about mirepoix, that little mix of celery, carrots, and onions, that is the foundation of so many of the soups and stews we all love. And how when we smell it sauteing, we start to get hungry because we know something good is to come.

Why couldn’t those three vegetables star rather than support, I thought? The onions and carrots would clearly make a fine soup, but might celery stalks make the soup too thin? But then I thought about celery in root form–a much better idea.

So here’s the recipe. It makes a very nice first course soup at a dinner party, but it’s also perfect alongside a grilled cheese. Speaking of which… see that grilled cheese in the background of the photo? It’s no ordinary grilled cheese, and we’ll be posting the recipe tomorrow.

Happy President’s Day!

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Mirepoix Soup
 
by:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound each: onions (2 large), peeled and cut into large chunks, carrots, tops trimmed and cut into large chunks, celery root (1 medium) peeled and cut into large chunks.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 5 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Instructions
  1. Toss vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet with oil, thyme and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Place on the bottom rack of a cold oven and heat oven to 425 degrees. Roast vegetables, stirring once or twice, until golden-brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Working in batches, place vegetables in a blender, adding enough broth to puree until silky smooth. Transfer to Dutch oven and heat through. Serve.

 

8 Comments

  1. says

    Cooks after my own heart!! Whenever people ask me what I like to cook the most, I always respond “Soup!!!!!” Thanks for sharing this recipe. Can’t wait to make it (and eat it with some great bread!).

  2. (Ms.)Devon Talley says

    When will the recipe for cauliflower soup made with coconut milk come? It sounds so intriguing and didn’t appear when I searched. Also, I’m not sure how to identify “celery root” vs. celery. Will I need to go to a grocery with a wide selection or should this be readily available, or in the organic section? I love your soups, your beer cheese soup was delicious and so much less labor-intensive than my old recipe, absolutely inspired recipe. I have all your recipe books, although I did pass along the vegetarian book to my niece because she can make better use. I think all new brides need a copy of How to Cook Without A Book, it brought such freedom to my way of cooking even though I’d been cooking thirty years. Enjoy your blog and your books very much.

    • says

      Hey Ms. Talley, thanks for taking the time to write. About celery root, it’s a big, gnarly root-looking thing. You can see a photo here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celeriac As for the cauliflower soup recipe, I’ll see if I can talk Maggy into sharing it soon :)

  3. audrey says

    This sounds fabulous! I love celery root . . . it has a wonderful taste that is more substantial than celery.

    As for the cauliflower soup . . . please post that! I think cauliflower is one of the most underused vegatables.

  4. Loretta says

    Loved the mirepoix soup, love your blog, I have many of your cookbooks. I had the pleasure of meeting you at the resort in Lake George, the Sagamore, you did a cooking demo and were promoting you book, Perfect Recipes for Having People Over. My daughter and I got our books signed by you. Thanks for all your great recipes in your books and on your blog.

  5. Melissa Grassmick says

    I’m about to put my cauliflower, carrots, and onions in the oven for roasting! Can’t wait for lunch.

  6. Gail says

    this soup, like so many I’ve tried from your books, is absolutely delicious. We make it often and I feel like it’s one of those that feeds the soul as well as the belly.
    Thanks!

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