winter white vegetable soup with cilantro pesto

I feel like once we’ve rounded the corner after the holidays & in to the New Year, I jump the gun a little in thinking that Spring is on it’s way.  I mean, it is.  I just tend to forget that there’s a few more (cold) months until it actually gets here.

Then reality sets in & I miss the sun after 5:30pm.  I miss warmer temperatures.  I miss leaving the house without layers & gloves. I miss tomatoes & strawberries & iced coffee.

So, when life hands you a few more months of cold & colorless winter veggies, make winter white vegetable soup.

winter white vegetable soup - life with the lushers

This recipe is adapted from a recipe from Mustards Grill, a wonderful roadside restaurant in Napa, serving delicious stick-to-your ribs dishes & fantastic wines.  We kind of love the place.  This soup is a little sweet on it’s own, but a spoonful of herbaceous, garlicky pesto swirled in balances everything out, making this a hearty lunch, perfect for a cold winter day.

serves 8-10

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, diced
2 small or 1 large leek, white parts only, sliced
2 medium parsnips, peeled, cored (if the center is hard), & diced
1 turnip, peeled & diced
1 large russet or 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & diced
1 medium cauliflower, diced
1 cup cooked hominy
big pinch kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 cup white wine
8 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
cilantro pesto, recipe below

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or other large pot.  Add the onion & leeks & sweat for about 6-10 minutes, until tender & translucent.  Add the parsnips, turnip, potato, cauliflower & hominy to the pot.  Cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn the heat up to high, pour in the wine & let it cook off until it’s almost gone.  Turn the heat back down to medium-high & add the stock & water.  Bring to a boil & reduce to a simmer, skimming off any foam that bubbles to the top.  Cook for 10-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender, continuing to skim, if necessary.

Using an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender, purée the soup until smooth.  Pour back into the pot & add the cream, stirring to combine.  Ladle into bowls & top with a spoonful of pesto.

makes about 3/4 cup

1 bunch fresh cilantro
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more, if necessary

Combine cilantro, garlic, Parmesan, salt & pepper in a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times to chop everything up. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil in a slow, thin stream, until mostly smooth & well combined. If storing before use, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the surface of the pesto to keep the color from darkening. Store in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to use.

adapted from Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook

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2 Responses to winter white vegetable soup with cilantro pesto

  1. Laura Case says:

    Just wanted to pop over and say I love Mustards also! It is a special place to me as I took my grandma Patsy there when she visited me in SF. She passed away when I was pregnant with the boys, nice little way to think of her when I read this.

    Also Jon and I are currently planning a summer trip to Tuscany. Just the two of us. Food, wine, EEEEEEKKKKKK!

    • the lushers says:

      Your trip will be soooooooo fun!!!

      Mustards is definitely a special place. We went for the first time on our honeymoon & it just has to fit into any visit we make out there.

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