Hello, hello and Happy Fall! I’m Katie from Butterlust, and it’s been quite some time since I’ve shared a recipe with you, so I’m excited to be back, right in the middle of my favorite season of the year.
There are so many wonderful things about the changing of the seasons. The deep, orange and crimson hues of the transitioning leaves, pumpkins everywhere, and just enough chill in the air to warrant finding an excuse to cozy up in a fluffy sweater, without the hassle of dealing with below-freezing temperatures. (I’m from the South, can you tell?) But perhaps my absolute favorite thing about fall is the food. Summer produce is fantastic, but warm fall spices and steaming hot mugs of comfort? Swoon.
This Roasted Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Kale Pesto is a nod to the best of the season. Carrots, sweet potatoes, garlic and onion are first roasted until perfectly caramelized in order to bring out a depth of flavor that cannot be matched by a simple sauté. The dark crispy edges that come from a good roast are the stuff that flavor dreams are made of, and contribute beautifully to the complex, smoky flavor of this soup.
For the soup:
- 6-8 medium carrots (600 ml), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 large sweet potatoes (800 ml), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, in skin
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 48 oz. chicken broth
- ½-1 cup water
- 2 star anise, whole
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- ½-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
For the kale pesto:
- 2 cups packed, torn kale, stems removed
- ½ cup fresh basil
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons parmigiano reggiano
- ⅓ cup almonds
- ½ cup greek yogurt (any fat content will do)
- 1-2 tablespoons water
For the soup: Preheat the oven to 425F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the carrots, sweet potatoes garlic and onion with olive oil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Spread vegetables in an even layer on the lined baking sheet. Roast for 40-45 stirring every 10 minutes, starting at the 20 minute mark, or until very tender and caramelized at the edges. Tip: if your vegetables become tender but have not caramelized, place them under the broiler for 5 minutes to speed the caramelization process.
Place half of the roasted vegetables in a blender, being sure to remove the roasted garlic from the skins. Add half of the chicken broth and blend until smooth. Transfer to a soup pot and repeat with the second half of the vegetables and broth.
If your soup is very thick, add water to thin then add the spices and remaining teaspoon of salt. Bring the soup to a boil and let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour to infuse with the flavors of the spices.
For the kale pesto: Combine kale, basil, olive oil, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
Add the cheese and almonds and pulse again until a smooth pesto forms.
To serve: Thin the yogurt by combining with water. Ladle hot soup into a bowl then drizzle with thinned yogurt and pesto. Add a sprinkle of pepitas and serve immediately.
Once roasted, the vegetables are pureed and then simmered with a blend of fall spices, including our secret ingredient: whole star anise. The anise adds a subtle hint of licorice flavor that lingers in the background, almost undetectable, but gives this soup an extra oomph that takes it past delicious to completely irresistible. To balance the sweetness of the roasted vegetables, I love to serve this soup with a generous drizzle of kale pesto -- slightly bitter with an acidic punch from lemon juice, it’s a game of balance and these two make a perfect pair.
But it wouldn’t be a fall-inspired dinner without a great glass of red, right? Kendall-Jackson’s Jackson Estate Trace Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon is rich and full-bodied, with notes of black fruit and licorice that stand up to this hearty soup while providing a lovely compliment to its spice. This is a cool-weather match that’s not be be missed, so grab your best wine glasses and your coziest slippers, light a fire in the fire place and settle in for one very delicious November evening. Cheers!