The dish I'm about to share is really two recipes in one – heavenly together but also good building blocks for many other meals this fall and winter. First up is a creamy, yet dairy-free, soup with roasted fall vegetables like butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. Then come the dumplings.
Roasting the vegetables amplifies and deepens their flavors. Pureed with vegetable stock, they form a velvety, comforting soup. Use the combination of produce I suggest below, or mix things up according to what you have on hand. Even without the dumplings, the soup makes a lovely lunch or dinner.
However, I do very much recommend the dumplings, which bring another dimension of texture and herby flavor to the soup. And then, consider adding these dumplings to other soups, as well, perhaps trying another combination of herbs or making them bigger or smaller (simply adjust the simmering time as necessary).
Roasted Vegetable Soup with Herb Dumplings
For the soup:
1/2 medium butternut squash
2 medium parsnips
1 sweet potato
2 leeks, white and light green parts only
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Chile powder (optional)
7 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
For the dumplings:
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon finely chopped marjoram
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
1/2 cup milk
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Peel and chop the butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, and sweet potato into 1-inch chunks. Cut the leeks into chunks. Peel and quarter the onion. Leave the garlic cloves unpeeled. Toss with enough olive oil to coat, plus a generous pinch of salt and pepper and a pinch of chile powder, if desired. Spread the vegetables evenly on two baking sheets. Roast until tender, 30-40 minutes. Squeeze the soft, roasted garlic from the skins.
Working in batches, puree the vegetables in a blender, adding vegetable stock as necessary to achieve a smooth consistency. Transfer the puree to a large pot along with the remaining vegetable stock and the bay leaf. Season to taste, bring to a boil, and then simmer for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the dumplings. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and rub with your fingers or a fork until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the herbs. Add the milk and stir until combined.
Drop tablespoonfuls of the dough into the simmering soup. Cover the pot and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked through.
To serve, ladle soup and dumplings into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.
(Images: Emily Ho)