ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLE SOUP WITH GRILLED CHEESE CROUTONS
What you need..
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 2-inch chunks
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into chunks
Extra-virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg 1 bulb garlic*
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Dash hot sauce
4 slices thick-cut good-quality white bread
4 slices deli-cut on thicker-side sharp yellow Cheddar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a roasting pan, coat the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and celery root in just enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat, then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roast the vegetables until tender and caramelized at edges, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Puree the vegetables in batches with the stock and transfer to a soup pot. Season the soup with honey and hot sauce, to taste.
Preheat the oven. On the night you want to serve the soup, arrange a cooling rack over a baking sheet and assemble 2 cheese sandwiches using 2 bread slices and 2 slices cheese per sandwich. Cube each sandwich into 9 mini-sandwiches and separate in a baking sheet providing space between each mini-sandwich. Coat the sides and tops of each sandwich with cooking spray. Bake in the hot oven until golden and cheese melts. Float a few sandwich-croutons in each bowl of the soup bowls.
OVEN ROASTED MUSHROOM SOUP
What you need..
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 1/2 pound Shiitake Mushrooms, stems discarded and caps roughly chopped into large pieces
1 1/2 pound Cremini Mushrooms, roughly chopped into large pieces
3/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Coarse-Ground Pepper
1/2 cup Very Finely Chopped Shallots
3/4 cup White Wine
3 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
1 1/2 teaspoon Chopped Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 tablespoon Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Roast the mushrooms: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the olive oil in a large (about 16- by 13-inch) nonstick roasting pan. Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and toss. Roast on the lowest shelf in the oven for 20 minutes. Add the shallots, stir to combine, and continue to cook for 10 more minutes. Remove about 1 1/2 cups of the mushrooms, set aside and keep warm.
Make the soup: Remove the roasting pan from the oven and pour in the wine; stir, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the roasting pan. Add the low-sodium chicken broth, 2 cups of water, and thyme leaves. Return the pan to the oven and let cook, simmering, for about 20 more minutes. Remove pan from the oven and transfer its contents to a large serving bowl.
Finish the soup. Remove 3/4 cup of the mushrooms with a slotted spoon; puree with 1/4 cup of the soup liquid in a blender. Stir the puree, cream, lemon juice, and remaining salt and pepper into the soup. Serve hot, topped with the reserved mushrooms.