There is nothing like travel to invigorate your interest and love of food. This creamy root vegetable soup is a favorite from childhood — the first time I had it was in my cousin Brigid’s kitchen in Ireland and I was hooked! Leftover veggies from the night before or fresh from the garden, this will become a staple in your repertoire any season of the year!
We visited Ireland for the first time when I was a little girl. You might not think that a country so close to the east coast of the US would cause culture shock but for a kid in the 80s, this was a bit of a step back. In hindsight, this trip not only helped to create a life-long love of Ireland but it helped me slow down (yes, even children need to slow down!) and appreciate simple things. Like this earthy, creamy and delicious vegetable soup. Daily walks to visit the cows in the next pasture because there were only two television channels helped too! It probably planted the seed of this budding vegetarian too…
On my most recent visit to Ireland I was thrilled to see that creamy vegetable soup was on every single menu, whether it was a small pub for lunch or a three-course dinner in a nicer restaurant. And I probably had the soup nine out of ten times! Not only because every place offered it and it was a vegetarian option but because it was so outrageously homey and delicious. Did I mention the freshly baked brown bread with creamery butter? Ah, well, let’s just say we became fast friends. Yum!
1 medium onion
2 celery stalks
3 TBs butter
4 C/ 1 liter vegetable stock
4 TSP cream or creme fraiche
salt and pepper, to taste
Wash and chop all the vegetables into small pieces; They will cook quicker and are easier for pureeing purposes.
Add the butter to a stock pot over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for ten minutes without browning. Add the carrots, potatoes, celery and leeks and cook for five minutes more. Then add the parsnip for five more minutes. Add the vegetable stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes and allow to cool down to begin pureeing the vegetables. It took just two batches with my handy Ninja mixer!
Pour everything back into the pot and taste again. I use low-to-no sodium vegetable stock so I always have to add more salt and pepper. Do so to your own taste but remember that there is almost no seasoning in this whatsoever. Add the cream — and this is also to taste. You may like it a bit more creamy. If using creme fraiche, it will require just a little. Light cream or the like may need a bit more.
I’m going to be completely honest here, I could eat a vat of this soup it was that good. And it tasted very much like the vegetable soup I had in just about every small town in Ireland. I adapted this recipe from the Avoca Soups cookbook because I wanted an authentic and local take!
There were variations on the vegetables depending where we ate. Courgettes and celeriac were popular and spinach and mushrooms were a bit different. Classic vegetable is served everyday alongside some divine looking seafood chowders. Talk about creamy!
If you don’t want to indulge in a lot of bread, some fresh toasted croutons on top would add a bit of warmth and crunch. But honestly, life is too short to not have bread and butter. Especially Irish bread and butter. Add a sprig of a favorite fresh herb like thyme or parsley that would complement the root veggies, a pinch of sea salt and a twist of fresh pepper over the top. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did — this is going to be especially dreamy on those upcoming crisp and cool autumn evenings. Enjoy!