Meatless Monday - The Secret Remains in the Roasting

The question of this Holiday Season continues, but where are you getting your protein if you are not eating meat?  There are so many foods that offer protein sources besides meat.  There are vegetables and fruits and quinoa and...

The question of this Holiday Season continues, but where are you getting your protein if you are not eating meat?  There are so many foods that offer protein sources besides meat.  There are vegetables and fruits and quinoa and oats and nuts and seeds for all to feed!  (Sorry, it is still the Holidays!) I am convinced many need to re-learn how to prepare and to enjoy vegetables. Steaming or blanching is one of the healthiest cooking methods, but this will need the boost of fresh herbs or citrus to enhance the flavors.  Heavy sauces disguise the vegetables, and counter-act the healthy.  I have come to love the roasting technique to cut back the oils needed and enhance the flavors with the aid of my convection roast setting on my oven.  Last weekend’s Sunday Atlanta Journal-Constitution offered a recipe for Seared Broccoli and Potato Soup created by Andrew Feinberg at Franny’s restaurant in Brooklyn.  This week I had the chance to recipe test and improvise to create my own version of Roasted Broccoli and Potato Soup. Andrew had some good ideas and pairings, I just twisted this a bit to my liking!

Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli
Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli

Roasted Broccoli and Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • About 1 – 1 ½  pounds of broccoli, separated into small florets
  • About 3  potatoes, sliced
  • 2 – 3 medium onions, large dice
  • 2 heads of garlic, root ends sliced off
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 - 4 cups vegetable stock. I opted for homemade and added thyme and rosemary to this stock to infuse some added flavor in this stock for this recipe.

Optional:

  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to finish the dish

Directions:

  1. Toss broccoli, onions and garlic on one sheet pan with olive oil, garlic salt and pepper.
  2. Toss sliced potatoes on another sheet pan with olive oil, garlic salt and pepper.
  3. Roast both pans of vegetables at 395 degrees for about 30 minutes on a convection roast setting or bake. The broccoli, onions and garlic will be done first. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Check on this after about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove any garlic skins.
  5. Turn potato rounds over after about 25 minutes. These will need about an additional 15 minutes on the second side. DO NOT crisp these too much ( like homemade potato chips) if some are too crunchy they can be salvaged as “Cook’s Treats”.
  6. In a high speed blender (a Blendtec or Vitamix would be good choices here) combine the roasted broccoli, onions, garlic and potatoes starting with 2 – 3 cups of vegetable stock. I like this soup thicker. Add additional stock if needed. Season to taste adding the red pepper flakes at this final step.
  7. I opted to hold off on the cheese and the lemon as seasonings as I enjoyed the texture and flavors of the roasted soup I created.
  8. Again, I added fresh herbs to the stock and finished this bowl of soup with some added fresh thyme.

Roasted Broccoli Soup
Roasted Broccoli and Potato Soup

This was a hardy bowl of soup that had the look and texture of a cream soup without the fat.   The roasting boosted the flavors and the texture of the ingredients.  This would have been a perfect pairing with an Arugula Salad.

Thanks to Andrew for another suggestion of the simple method of roasting to yield the big results.  The second secret is the high-speed blender!