The earthy sweetness and hearty texture unique to fall vegetables can be coaxed to delicious perfection in many ways—but it’s in a puréed soup that those wonderful qualities really shine. For the velvety, satisfying fall soups that follow, all you have to do is brown some vegetables, add broth, simmer until everything is tender, and then purée. It’s that simple.
To create even more depth and dimension, I layer on an interesting flavor or two, adding ingredients to the sauté early on, as well as stirring them in after puréeing. A garnish just before serving adds texture and flair. And if you want, you can enhance the texture by puréeing only part of the soup, for a silky-chunky counterpoint. I get especially good results when I do this with the Wild Mushroom & Sherry Soup.
1. Sauté to develop a little browning.
On a weeknight, why not try Butternut Squash Soup with Apple & Bacon or Parsnip & Parmesan Soup. I like these soups with a green salad and a baguette, or with grilled cheese sandwiches. But they’re also ideal for weekends and entertaining because they make an easy and elegant first course. Also, all of these soups can be made up to two days ahead and then reheated before garnishing and serving.