From my office window I see Fall the way Colorado does it best. Vibrant blue skies, trees covered in amber and copper leaves and a chilly, crisp, beautiful morning turning into an 80 degree day. It’s that last part that can mess with you and it happens in every season. You can sit comfortably in a t-shirt on a sunny day following a blizzard, have it dump snow the day before your wedding in May (yup, that was us) and approach Fall and Spring in a zig-zag of temperatures. And I love it. Even if it means hunkering down to a bowl of hot, root vegetable soup in a tank top in October instead of in front of a crackling fire in my favorite turtleneck.
Today’s lunch is the remnant of my October Wassoup offering, our monthly soup-swap amongst six moms pretending to feed their children but most likely eating the soup ourselves. Last week I thought I had it covered making a huge vat of farro, cauliflower and chicken soup. Alas, after feeding some to my daughter and husband and helping myself, there was not much left so it was back to the drawing board.
I did grow some lovely cauliflower at the end of the summer, but it only yielded a few tiny heads and I was still craving more of the roasted sweet florets. I decided I’d make an almost entirely white soup with parsnips, potatoes, cauliflower and chicken along with a little bacon-y product because omitting it would be a sin. I hoped the results would be a velvety soup base with some hearty pieces of vegetables and chicken. So I decided to simmer half the veggies and roast the rest. Then all I had to do was blend the broth and veggies, saute the bacon-y item, chicken and onions and stir it all together with the roasted version. Finished with some garlic chives still flourishing in the garden, it was pretty much what I was after. And this week as the temperature drops I have another five soups to look forward to.
Makes 8 servings
3 ounces pancetta or bacon
1/2 onion, diced
6 cups chicken broth
1 small cauliflower (or large one halved)
1 russet potato
1 large parsnip
3 garlic cloves, not peeled
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Heat oven to 400°.
Cut the pancetta into small pieces and brown in a large pot. Remove with a slotted spoon and sauté onion until softened but not browned. Add chicken, season with salt and cook until just cooked through. Remove to the pancetta bowl. Cut half of cauliflower into large florets and the rest into small, bite-sized pieces. Do the same for the potato and parsnip (both peeled). Put the broth and larger veggies into the pot and bring to a simmer cooking until tender. Toss the smaller veggies and garlic with oil and salt and white pepper and roast in oven until light brown. Purée the soup until very smooth and return to pot. Stir in chicken mixture and roasted veg. Season with salt and garnish with chopped chives or other fresh herbs.