I was recently contacted by Grimmway Farms about doing a blog post about their organic produce. While you might not know the name of the California farm, chances are good you have purchased their organic Bunny-Luv carrots in your local grocery store, as well as a wide variety of other organic produce marketed as Cal-Organics. Now my regular readers know that I am an advocate of local produce, but in the winter months we are regular consumers of Bunny-Luv products and always have a bag in the crisper drawer.
For this recipe I used a pound of Bunny-Luv carrots as well as a large parsnip and onion, and I roasted the vegetables to develop the flavors. The roasting process concentrates the sugars and adds a deep flavor to the finished soup. To do this I just scrubbed and chopped the vegetables, tossed with olive oil and some spices, and roasted until tender and browned.
This looked and smelled so good coming out of the oven that we almost skipped the soup process and ate them directly from the pan–really, you cannot beat roasted vegetables! You might be tempted to add water while these are roasting, but trust that it isn’t needed and you want the depth of flavor you will get from dry roasting with just some olive oil. I added the polenta “croutons” to the oven for the last 25 minutes of roasting time, and they make a crispy-creamy-salty addition to this beautiful soup.
Roasted Carrot and Parsnip Soup with Polenta Croutons
1 pound organic carrots
1 large parsnip (or two medium)
1 large white onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons rosemary blades
juice of one navel orange
8 cups hot water or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon butter (optional, and/or use Earth Balance to keep this vegan)
18 once tube of prepared polenta (or cook your own and chill in a pan overnight)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Trim and scrub the carrots. Cut into pieces and place in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Peel the parsnip and cut into chunks of similar sizes and add to the baking pan. Peel the onion and cut into large wedges, and add to the other vegetables. Drizzle the vegetables with two tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, white pepper, and rosemary. Roast for 35-45 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until the vegetables begin to brown and are tender when pierced with a knife.
Working in batches, puree the cooked vegetables with the juice of the orange and the water (in a regular blender, this will take 3-4 batches of vegetables pureed with about two cups of water per batch). Add each pureed batch to a tureen or soup pot. Be sure to include any pan roasting juices! When all of the roasted vegetables have been pureed, stir in the butter until melted, and taste and adjust the salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add in another cup or two of hot water or stock. Serve with the polenta croutons garnishing each bowl.
For the croutons: Remove the wrapper from the prepared polenta and slice it into cubes of desired size. Gently toss the cubes with olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt, and roast at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and lightly golden brown on the edges. Drain on paper toweling and serve hot with the soup.
Thanks for reading,