Saturday, September 28, 2013

Roasted Vegetable Soup with Herbed Dumplings

As much as I am an advocate for meal-planning, sometimes I like to pick out foods on a whim and challenge myself to make something creative with them. On this particular grocery shop, I decided to grab orange beets, because I’d never seen orange beets before, and an eggplant, because I hadn’t cooked with eggplant in ages. The beets and eggplant sat for a while in my refrigerator until I had an idea to roast them up for soup. 
Roasting vegetables just seems like the right thing to do at this time of year, as does making soup and dumplings. 
Astoundingly, all three kids liked this healthy soup! Cole almost gave it his usual so-so rating, but when I asked what he didn’t like about it, he couldn’t think of anything, so he decided to give it a thumb up.  Bennett agreed that it should get a thumb up.
Tony seemed puzzled by this meal. I told him it was soup, but I guess the dumplings threw him off. He kept asking me things like, “Do I use bowls?” and “What about spoons?”
Um yeah, it’s soup!  
He liked it a lot once he started eating it and stopped trying to figure out what it was.
Since Ayla insists on feeding herself but isn’t so great at using a spoon yet, I cut up a dumpling and poured some of the soup on top of it. She picked it up in fistfuls and shoved it in her mouth. She couldn’t get enough of it! When she was done all of her dumpling, she grabbed some of Bennett’s as well. She must have really liked the dumpling because she didn’t drop any of it, although she got soup over everything. She even managed to get it on her feet.
Learning to feed oneself sure can be a messy business.  At least she looks cute doing it.

Roasted Vegetable Soup with Dumplings

Adapted from The Kitchn
1 onion, chopped
1 yam, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 small beets, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic (left whole)
1 eggplant, halved lengthwise
2 medium tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp olive oil
 seasoning salt
1 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
5-6 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste
  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Place onion, yam, carrots, beets and whole garlic cloves on one baking sheet, and the eggplant and tomatoes on the other. 
  • Lightly drizzle olive oil over the vegetables, then lightly sprinkle them with seasoning salt. 
  • Roast for 30-40 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown.
  • Scoop out eggplant and squeeze out the garlic from their casings into a large soup pot or dutch oven. 
  • Add the other vegetables to the pot, along with 5 cups of vegetable broth.
  • Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Add another cup or more of broth if it seems too thick.
  • Stir in cumin, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring soup to a boil, then cover and simmer on medium-low heat while you prepare the dumplings.
Herbed Dumplings
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp cold butter
dash of dried marjoram, parsley and thyme
1/2 cup milk
  • In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until it forms fine crumbs. 
  • Stir in herbs and milk, and mix until fully combined.
  • Drop tablespoons of batter into the simmering soup. Allow them to simmer in the soup for about 10 minutes, until cooked through.
Serves 6.