I am usually not so undecided when it comes to what to cook but I want to make lots of different things for my mother while she’s here visiting, to be sure she tries at least a good sampling of my favorite dishes, and I some of hers. The truth is that my mother and I, more often than not, spend much of our telephone conversations talking about food and what we are currently making. The challenge is that we live in opposite hemispheres and so while I’m making cozy winter stews, she’s craving cooling summer salads.
While I was planning dinner last night, I had soup in mind but I wanted something brothy and fragrant that could use all the fall vegetables that are filling the markets. Finding a last pint of colored cherry tomatoes threw me off for a moment; that is until I decided to add them to the mix. They gave the soup a lovely brightness, which helped balance all the sweet tasting roots. I think this soup is a wonderful combination of ingredients and is surprisingly, both hearty and delicate. It’s such a treat to have her here in my kitchen with me to exchange recipes and have the opportunity to feed each other and our friends.
Fall vegetable soup with saffron broth and white beans
I recommend prepping the vegetables for the soup at the same time as making the broth, that way you can use the trimmings as I have mentioned below.
We enjoyed this soup with smashed and roasted potatoes and a garlic parsley yogurt dip (will post soon!). I also passed around a wedge of Parmesan cheese and a grater for anyone who wanted some on their soup. It was a warming meal for a crisp evening that paired perfectly with a glass of red. I must note that the soup is also delicious straight up, so no need for anything but parsley to add some green.
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, left whole
2 stalks celery with leaves, roughly chopped
½ cups cherry tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 large pinch saffron
2 cups chopped fennel greens
1 bunch parsley stems
Peelings from celery root, from below
Squash seeds, from below
8 cups of filtered water
Put all vegetables in a large pot and add the filtered water. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, then remove lid and raise heat until broth boils rapidly and cook for another 15 minutes. Strain and discard vegetables, you should have about 5 cups broth.
1 cup white beans, navy or great northern, soaked over night
2 inch piece kombu
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, cut in quarters and sliced
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon minced rosemary
1 teaspoon minced thyme
1 medium fennel bulb, cored and cut in ½ inch dice
2 medium carrots cut in ¾ inch irregular shapes
1 stalk celery cut in ¾ inch irregular shapes
½ medium celery root, peeled and cut in ¾ inch dice (1 ½ cups)
1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut in 1 inch irregular shapes
½ medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 1 inch dice
(3 ½ cups)
2 medium turnips cut in 8 wedges, I used red skinned turnips
5 cups broth, see recipe below
2 large pinches saffron
1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, if you have them!
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Chopped parsley to garnish
Drain beans and rinse well. Place in a pressure cooker and cover with 1 inch of filtered water, add kombu and bring up to high pressure. Reduce heat to low and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from heat; allow pressure to release and strain beans reserving cooking liquid. Set aside.
Warm a large pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil and onion, sauté for 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, garlic, rosemary and thyme and cook another few minutes. Stir in carrots, celery and fennel, add 1 cup bean cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Cover pot, lower heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Add all remaining vegetables, except tomatoes, 5 cups broth, saffron and another pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat, simmer for 10 minutes and add tomatoes and beans.
Return lid to pot and simmer for another 30 minutes or until flavors are rich and vegetables are cooked. Add remaining bean cooking liquid to get desired consistency, stir in balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish each bowl with chopped parsley.
Serves 6 people as a main course.
Click here for printable recipe