Acorn: Vegetables Re-Imagined: Seasonal Recipes from Root to Stem by Shira Blustein and Brian Luptak will be on shelves November 9, 2021. Read our profile of Blustein from our Autumn 2021 issue.
No more lies! Soup on a restaurant menu should be an indication that the kitchen is working to minimize food waste, using up any vegetable trim and scraps that would otherwise end up in the landfill. We always have a rotating soup, one that helps us to make the best use of our ingredients while remaining seasonal. With that, we couldn’t help but include this recipe for one of our favorite winter soups. It’s as comforting as it gets, like your favorite oversized wool sweater. Feel free to get creative and add any clean vegetable trim you have lying around.
Caramelized Garlic, German Butter Potato and Pine Nut Soup, Aleppo Pepper Powder, Potato Chips, Smoked Sunflower Oil
Makes 6 servings
Aleppo pepper powder
15 dried Aleppo peppers (see Note)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon citric acid
4 German butter potatoes
12 cups canola oil
¼ cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic
2 onions, roughly chopped
8 German butter potatoes, skins on, scrubbed clean, quartered
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup raw pine nuts
¼ cup smoked sunflower oil
Fresh ground pepper
Make the pepper powder
Place the dried peppers in a Vitamix and blitz until the mixture has a powdery consistency. Add the remaining ingredients and blitz for 5 more seconds or until well combined. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.
Make the potato chips
Wash the potatoes and slice them using a mandoline set to ⅛ inch thickness. In a heavy-bottomed, high-sided pot, heat the oil to 275°F. Working in batches of a dozen or so, carefully place the sliced potatoes in the oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Stir the potatoes often at the start, then flip them all over halfway through frying. When the moisture bubbles subside, use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the chips and place them directly onto a kitchen cloth or paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Transfer the chips into a bowl when they are still a little warm and toss them with about 2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper powder. Store in an airtight container lined with a kitchen towel or paper towel at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Make the soup
In a large saucepot on low heat, add the olive oil and garlic cloves, allowing them to slowly caramelize to a light brown color, and release that sweet and mellow roasted garlic smell. Add the onions and sweat until they are soft and translucent. Add all the remaining ingredients and 6 cups water, bring the soup up to a simmer, and cook for approximately 40 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by a quarter.
Working in small batches, blend the soup in a Vitamix until it is silky-smooth. Once blended, check for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Evenly distribute the soup between six bowls. Top each bowl with a small stack of Aleppo pepper powder potato chips, and drizzle a little smoked sunflower oil on top. Garnish with fresh cress or microgreens and some fresh ground pepper, to taste.
Aleppo peppers are a milder red pepper. If you’re using fresh Aleppo peppers, there are many methods for drying them. We usually dry them in the dehydrator for around 18 hours at 145°F, or in the oven at 165°F for 6 hours. Before drying them, wash thoroughly, cut off the stems, and remove the seeds. Save and dry the seeds separately if you want that extra heat.
Remember when blending hot ingredients to always leave a small air vent at the top of the container to let the pressure and steam release while blending. We recommend removing the plastic cap in the center of the Vitamix lid and covering it loosely with a kitchen towel.
Copyright © 2021 Shira Blustein. Photography by Gabriel Cabrera. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.