This recipe comes to you all the way from London town! With a few days off before starting a new job I decided it was the perfect opportunity to visit one of my closest friends, Niki – who happens to be living across the pond. My four day trip was filled with adventure: biking across the city, tasting food and drink at the markets, and visiting all of the must-see sights in The Big Smoke (apparently this is the city’s nickname?).
The temperature dropped a bit on my last day and after a quick bike to the flower market and the best meal of the trip (breakfast at Dishoom), we returned to the flat to relax and warm up. Niki shares my love of food and cooking (her awesome blog is called The Relocated Kitchen) and with only a few hours until my flight, we decided to team up in the kitchen for a cozy lunchtime soup.
With no real recipe we resorted to a big vegetable roast, a food processor, and some fried sage leaves. After discovering that my super posh, England-assimilated friend was also in possession of a bottle of white truffle oil, we topped off the puree with a hint of earthiness. I don’t know that the truffle oil is necessary, and it certainly isn’t minimalist, but if you have it in your pantry then by all means put it to use.
*This trip sealed the deal on my white truffle oil obsession. I have always been drawn to it on pizza and pasta menus but after sniffing and sampling various oils at Borough Market, I have decided it should be a constant in my kitchen.
Ingredients (for 5-7 servings):
12 oz of butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2-3 large carrots, chopped with ends removed
2 large parsnips, chopped with ends removed
1 large onion, cut into chunks
3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
2 cups of almond milk
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 bunch of fresh sage leaves (6-8 leaves for baking and extra for frying and serving as garnish)
Olive oil, salt, pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place all of the vegetables, aside from the garlic, in a large bowl. Chiffonade some of the sage leaves and sprinkle them atop the vegetables.
Toss with 2 generous tablespoons of olive oil. In a large roasting pan, spread the vegetables evenly and top with 1 tablespoon of salt and a few teaspoons of pepper. Wrap the garlic cloves (still in peel) lightly in foil and set inside of the roasting dish.
Roast for 25-30 minutes or until the edges of the squash have browned and caramelized and you can easily pierce the carrot and parsnip with a fork. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Open the foil to also cool the garlic.
Once the vegetables have reached a temperature for handling, it’s time to blend. We used a food processor but you could also combine everything in a large pot and blend with an immersion blender.
Food processor: Blend the vegetables and 2 cups of almond milk. Squeeze the meat of the garlic from the peel and continue blending until the puree reaches a semi-chunky consistency (this can very depending upon texture preference). If blending in batches, divide into four servings and blend with 1/2 cup of almond milk per batch. Combine blended quantities in a large pot.
Immersion blender: combine all of the vegetables in a large pot and squeeze the meat of the garlic from its peel. Add 2 cups of almond milk and blend slowly using an immersion blender.
When finished with the puree process, place the pot on the stove and turn on medium heat. Begin stirring as you add in the vegetable broth. Let the mixture simmer as you stir for 5-10 minutes, adding any additional flavors (salt, pepper, spice). Turn the heat on very low.
In a small saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on high. Let the oil warm for at least 3 minutes, then carefully set the sage leaves in the hot oil to fry (test the oil’s temperature by dropping in one leaf at a time, only continuing if the first leaf begins to sizzle). The leaves should flatten in the oil and will need to cook for about 20-30 seconds per side. Flip each leaf using a fork and set on a paper towel lined plate to cool.
Serve the puree with a few fried sage leaves and a drop or two of truffle oil and enjoy!