Sometimes I do things just a bit backwards … but you’ve probably already noticed this, if you’re a regular here at The Café the process of creating this soup is the perfect example; I came up with the name before I actually came up with the recipe.
Our furnace went out last weekend. That wouldn’t normally be such a big deal here in North Carolina as usually our climate is quite mild. But it just happened to be the coldest week of the season! Cold, brrrrrr ……….. like in the 20’s and 30’s! (I know, all of you in the Northern climes here in the US are snickering at what puppies we are!) We had the furnace checked out and the repairman determined that it was the motor that was on the blink. Sadly, that particular motor was not in stock. It had to be ordered and they said they’d call as soon as it came in.
So for the past few days, we’ve had the gas fireplace burning non-stop and the oven on at all hours of the day and night, just to try to keep warm. This morning I was sitting near the fire writing a blog post and feeling quite chilled. I started thinking about how nice it would be to have a piping hot bowl of soup. Then I started thinking about making soup. For some reason, maybe it’s the season (or maybe just my quirkiness), I decided it had to be a white soup, something that would be elegant enough to serve in small pretty bowls as an appetizer soup for a lovely holiday dinner. I also wanted it to be healthy and hearty enough to stand on it’s own as a casual dinner or lunch soup. Winter White was the name I came up with; so then it was on to the market to see what I could find to go in my “white soup”.
Onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, potatoes, cauliflower and turnips ………….. they all greeted me in the produce section, ending up in my basket and ………….. in my soup pot! I sautéed the onions and garlic, added chicken broth along with the remaining ingredients and simmered the mixture till tender and fragrant. A quick blend with an immersion blender and I was done. Except for the fun part …………… the taste test! I was quite pleased with the results, but realized I needed to tweak one thing just a bit; it was so velvety smooth that I knew I needed to change the name (drum roll please)…………. Ta Da! It’s proudly called Winter White Velvet Soup now.
So there you have it: my backwards soup (and my backwards self). The furnace man came this afternoon to replace the broken part, the house is warm once again, and now I have a lovely pot of soup stashed away for the busy days ahead!
Although we enjoyed this Winter White Velvet Soup this past evening for a delicious meal with warm pita bread, it would also make a lovely appetizer soup for a holiday meal. The garnish of crumbled Feta, finely diced red pepper and curly parsley is a delicious and festive finishing touch. I added a scatter of crumbled bacon for our dinner tonight for a touch of extra hardiness.
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- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 medium leeks
- 2 medium shallots quartered
- 6 medium cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth you may need a bit more for thinning
- 1 medium cauliflower broken into florets
- 2 medium potatoes roughly chopped
- 2 medium parsnips peeled and cut into 1 inch slices
- ½ cup Feta cheese plus extra for garnish
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt more to taste
- ½ teaspoon white pepper more to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven (or stock pot) over medium heat. Add onions, leeks, shallots and garlic. Reduce heat to medium low and sauté onion mixture until soft and slightly golden, about 15 minutes.
Add chicken broth, cauliflower, potatoes, parsnips, salt and white pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a constant simmer and cover. Cook until all veggies are very tender, about 20-25 minutes.
Add Feta and puree with an immersion blender* or regular blender until smooth and velvety. If soup is too thick add a bit more chicken broth to thin. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with a bit more Feta and a sprinkle of the diced red bell pepper and chopped parsley.