Winter root vegetable soup with jalapeno and pepitas

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Yesterday was cold in New York City. As in under ten degrees and snowy. ALL I wanted was a spicy, toasty, wintery vegetable soup. I had some turnips and half a cauliflower head in the fridge and went from there. It came out really creamy with a hit of jalapeno on the finish, which I really like. If spicy isn't your thing, just leave that out. I chose to blend half the soup because I really like the creamy consistency without adding any actual cream. It was the perfect way to warm up on such a cold day!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2 leeks small diced (white part only)
  • 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 7 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
  • 1 turnip medium diced
  • 3 parsnips medium diced
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower florets roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Jalapeno, minced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound of Brussels Sprouts, leaves removed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Roasted and salted pepitas for garnish (and snacking!)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven (I used my 7qt Le Creuset and it worked beautifully.) over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and saute until slightly softened and aromatic. Add the leeks and garlic and continue cooking 5 minutes. Add the thyme leaves, diced turnips, parsnips, and cauliflower florets. Stir to make sure everything is coated in the olive oil evenly.

Add in the Dijon, jalapeno, and zest the lemon straight into the pot before slicing it in half and squeezing the juice in. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add in the chicken stock and stir. If the stock doesn't come to the top of the vegetables, feel free to add either more stock or water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender. The turnip took the longest in my batch. This should be about 15-20 minutes depending on your vegetable sizes. 

While the soup was simmering away, I started the crunchy Brussels Sprouts. (You could easily use cabbage or kale here as well-whatever you have on hand.) Line a sheet pan with either a silpat, tin foil, or parchment. Toss the leaves with a few glugs of olive oil and sea salt. Spread them on the sheet pan and roast them for about 15 minutes or until they achieve the desired crispyness. I personally like them pretty dark and kept mine in for 18 minutes.

Once the vegetables are cooked, ladle half of the soup into a blender or food processor and puree. Add the pureed half back to the pot. Serve with the crispy leaves on top and sprinkle with the toasted pepitas. Enjoy!