Hello from Mountain Time, chere amie! As you know, we have been in the midst of a move that has brought us from New York City to the mountains of Montana. To say things have been messy/stressful/hectic these past few weeks is, well, a MASSIVE understatement. I generally have a hard time packing my own bags for a weeklong vacation. But packing and preparing a family of four for a cross-country move? Well, that’s been a challenge unlike any other. Inevitably, there have been some bumps along the way (epic toddler tantrums, burnt grilled cheese sandwiches as I adjust to this electric stove, and the strange fact that I still haven’t found my hairbrush, whatever), but I’m not complaining. It feels fantastic to be home.
We are still working our way through the moving boxes, but the one room that’s unpacked and fully functional is obviously the kitchen. (For that, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my mom….THANKS MOM!) And nothing makes a house feel like a “home” more than the smell of the smell of sautéed garlic and onions, right? So one of the first meals I made in our new home was this Nordic Winter Vegetable Soup. I went online looking for something that made use of seasonal veggies (confession: this was my first experience with celery root) and would feel chewy/hearty enough to stand up to the sub-zero temps outside. This one perfectly fit the bill -- it was a delicious way to baptize the kitchen on one of our first snowy Montana nights...at home.
Nordic Winter Vegetable Soup (via Food & Wine)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup pearled barley
8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
4 cups water
10 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound baby spinach
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, leeks and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the barley. Add the vegetable broth, water, thyme and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Add the celery root and parsnips and season with salt and pepper. Simmer over moderately low heat until the barley and root vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.
Stir in the spinach and nutmeg and simmer for 5 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper and serve in deep bowls.
**We topped with parm shavings and a drizzle of EVOO.