There's a wonderful Irish pub and inn here in Milwaukee called County Clare. They have fantastic food, great beer, wonderful ambiance. It's one of our favorite places to go for dinner. I love everything on their menu.
Except their Root Soup. The recipe is online and has been copied far and wide as the model for Traditional Irish Root Soup.
The problem is, it tastes nothing like the root soup we had in Ireland. It's far too sweet. And it was a lunch staple for us the 2 weeks we were over there, so we sampled plenty of it.
So I set about to try and re-create it. However, I did deviate from the "root" vegetable world to do so. Instead of using sweet potatoes, I used butternut squash (I had one left from the garden). Instead of celery root I just used plain celery. But, ultimately, it was a very good first stab at it. Next time I'll try to find an appropriate substitute for the squash and use celery root.
Irish "Root" Soup
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
2 medium leeks, sliced, white part only
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
Vegetable stock (about 32 oz)
Dry Vermouth (about 1/2 cup)
Season the squash and potatoes with salt and pepper and roast until done.
While they roast, heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat. Add in onions and leeks. Sauteé 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add in carrots and celery. Sauteé another 3 minutes.
Add about a cup of broth to deglaze the pan. Add in roasted squash, potatoes, remaining broth and a dash of vermouth. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20-30 minutes. Season to taste and let soup cool completely.
Puree soup in blender in batches until smooth, adding more vegetable stock as necessary. Return soup to pot and re-heat over medium heat until hot. Serve immediately with a slice of brown bread.
Note: If you don't add too much stock, there's no need to add any heavy cream, making this a healthy yet intensely flavorful soup.
Wine Pairing: Guinness, baby. The only way to go.