Creamy Winter Vegetable Soup

winter veggie soup.jpg

It's official: I am obsessed with my Instant Pot. For those of you who don't already know about the cult of the Instant Pot, it's an electric pressure cooker that can also be a slow cooker, a rice cooker, a yogurt maker (haven't tried that yet) and it has a sauté feature. It's freaking awesome! I got mine about 14 months ago and while I used it sporadically for the first 9 or 10 months I got really into in this past fall and now it's seeing some action at least a couple of times per week.

It's fantastic for weekly meal prep, great for busy moms, perfect when cooking for a crowd. I use it for everything from soups and stews to spaghetti squash and pulled chicken for tacos. It can make carnitas and beef stew in an hour, hard boil eggs in minutes and make the best steel-cut oatmeal ever. The only thing it doesn't do is chop the vegetables and clean itself up when you're finished.

I've been leading a group of people through a January Whole30 and this is a recipe that I put together for that program. I made it for a demo lunch workshop and have made it like 4 times since then because it's so freaking yummy. It's great as is and even better with a dollop of pesto and some leftover carnitas (also made in the Instant Pot). 

This recipe is pretty forgiving. You can use regular celery instead of celery root (although I recommend trying celeriac if you haven't yet. It's delicious!), only parsnips if you don't have carrots (or visa versa), skip the sweet potato in favor of more butternut squash, etc..

There's lots of veggie prep before actual cooking takes place. Since I encourage stress-free cooking, put on some good music or a funny podcast, take some deep breaths and enjoy the time spent chopping and prepping.

You can also make this on the stovetop in a regular kettle. Instructions below.

Creamy Winter Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tablespoons cooking fat (ghee, coconut oil or avocado oil preferred)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large leek, white part only, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 medium/large parsnips or carrots (or one or each) peeled and chopped *see note below
  • 1 small/medium celeriac (celery root) peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. chipotle pepper or cayenne depending on your taste. If you don't like heat you can substitute curry powder.
  • 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, ends cut and discarded, cut in half 
  • 1/2 a medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, chopped 1 smallish sweet potato, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of kale or some other dark leafy green, chopped
  • 6-8 cups of bone broth or stock 
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley, cilantro or micro greens to garnish (optional)

Instant Pot Directions

  1. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté,” and when it’s hot, add the cooking fat to the bottom of the insert. Then add the onion, leek, carrot, parsnip and celery root and salt. Sauté the veggies for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t burn (the “Sauté” feature is great but there is no temperature control).
  2. Stir in the garlic and chipotle pepper or hot sauce and then turn off the Sauté button.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients (except salt and pepper and optional garnishes), secure the lid of the Instant Pot, close the valve and press “Soup,” bringing the time down to 20 minutes. 
  4. After the 20 minutes of pressure cooking is done, turn off the pot and release the pressure. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender (you may want to wait until it has cooled a bit before you put it in a regular blender). After the soup is pureéd, add salt and pepper and optional garnish.

Stove top Directions

  1. Heat cooking oil in a large, heavy-bottomed kettle or stock pot  with a lid over medium heat. When hot, add your cooking oil and then add the onion and leek, stirring for about 5 -7 minutes until softened.
  2. Add carrot, parsnip, celery root and salt and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot and sweat the vegetables for 10 minutes, stirring once in the middle.
  3. Remove the lid, turn the heat to medium and add the garlic and chipotle pepper, stirring for about 1 minute or until fragrant.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients (except salt and pepper and optional garnishes) and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender (you may want to wait until it has cooled a bit before you put it in a regular blender). After the soup is pureéd, add salt and pepper and optional garnish.

*Don’t discard the seeds! Toss them in oil and salt and roast them at 375° for about 10-15 minutes. You can sprinkle them on the soup when it’s done.