Sometimes a busy day, heck; a busy couple of weeks deserve a lazy meal. When I say that I am not talking about picking up something pre-made from the freezer section of the grocery store, nor am I talking about popping something in the microwave. What am I talking about? I do not even own a microwave! What I am talking about is something easy, without a lot of primping, and has a gratifying effect when you are done making it. Gratifying in the way that you actually took the time to make something good for yourself. Yes, a lazy meal was really in order for the way things have been going lately.
I came home the other day after not having a break from work in a while. It was a Saturday afternoon and Brian was in a seminar all day for training. It was cold out, the girls still needed to be walked, I really wanted a hot shower, and there was still dinner to consider.I wanted to crawl into bed and nap, but there were priorities. Quickly I got the girls on their leashes and off we went for nice long walk. Being out on the city streets in the late afternoon felt great, the fresh air livened me up and put a spring into the step of my girls. We walked down to a café and picked up a baguette and hot chocolate and headed back home. When we walking in the door I gave the girls each a treat and started to think about dinner. I pulled together some parsnips, a butternut squash, and an onion. I quickly heated the oven to 375 degrees and peeled and chopped the veggies. I tossed them in olive oil, salt, and pepper and placed them on a baking sheet. Into the oven the veggies went, and into the shower did I. In less than an hour I was feeling better from a nice hot shower and my veggies were nicely roasted. My plan was to turn the veggies into soup. But I now had time to buy.
I curled up with a magazine for about an hour. Oh, time to myself is so valued when you get so little of it! When I was done reading I headed back into the kitchen. The lazy meal was in full effect. I place the roasted veggies in a six quart pot and poured enough stock in to cover. Brought it all to a simmer and then pureed it all together. I stirred in some cream and heated it through and it was done. By the time Brian came home dinner was ready. We sat down with the soup, the sliced baguette, and I topped the soup off with some spiced pecans I had. It was wonderful. The roasting of the veggies brings out a deep caramel overtone and this flavor it transferred to the soup. It was warm, delicious, and so gratifying. A lazy dinner was not only in order; it was craved and much enjoyed. Fitting for the day or week I had been having, I need to make more lazy dinners like this one.
Lazy Autumn Soup (feeds 4)
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, trimmed and chopped
*be sure all the above chopped into evenly sized pieces
¼ cup of olive oil
Veggie or Chicken Stock (no more than 1 quart)
1 cup of crème
Spiced Pecans, as garnish (*recipe to follow)
First, preheat our oven to 375 degrees. Place your veggies (about 5 cups worth) in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle it with your sea salt and black pepper. Place the sheet pan in the oven for about 30 – 45 minutes (depending on the size they were cut), stirring them ½ way through.
Next, once your veggies are tender and caramel in color you can remove them from the oven. When ready to make the soup, place your veggies in a 6 quart pot and cover with stock until it just covers your veggies. Place it over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
Finally, once the continents of your pot are simmering you can remove it from the heat. Using an emersion blender puree the soup until smooth and return to the heat. Stir in the cream and stir until well combined and heated through. Taste to adjust your seasoning and serve. Top with Spiced Pecans if your wish.
Spice Pecan (makes 2 cups)
2 cups of pecans
2 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of sugar
1 tsp of paprika
½ tsp of kosher salt
¼ tsp of cayenne pepper
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place your pecans on a baking sheet and bake about 5 – 10 minutes. You are looking for the pecans to be fragrant and slightly toasted. Remove from the oven once toasted and let cool.
Next, melt your butter over a low flame. Once butter is melted set aside and mix together your sugar, paprika, salt, and cayenne. Place the pecans in a large enough bowl to toss them in. pour the melted butter over and toss week. Sprinkle your sugar mixture over it all and toss again.
Finally, line a sheet pan with parchment paper. After your pecans are well tossed and well coated pour them onto the sheet pan to dry out a bit. Let dry about an hour before packing up. Place in an air tight container for up to a week.