The Essential Puree Guidebook contains many techniques for cooking healthy veggies. In the fall, I like to roast the veggies because they puree easily for a soup or a side dish. Roasting concentrates the flavor of the vegetables and gives an excellent texture.
You can puree all pieces of one vegetable for a single flavor, such as sweet potato, or you can mix and match the veggies for a combination flavor. You can work out your own combinations, such as parsnips and garlic, beets and leeks. I like a little white turnip or even the neglected orange rutabaga, but I consider this a wild choice, for the brave.
With one roasting, you create several different side dishes, all with a different color and nutritional profile. You thus escape boredom.
This is a non-recipe recipe. Flexible and easy. It is also a great way to use up the last of a bunch of carrots, the leftover parsnips that did not go in the chicken soup, the lone sweet potato, or the leeks that did not make it into the leek and potato soup. Food is precious. Waste not.
You preheat the oven to 400 degrees. You wash the veggies, pat them dry and cut up them up in in 2 inch cubes or sections—butternut squash, beets, carrots, parsnips, leeks, sweet potatoes, garlic, onion.
You can practice your knife skills or use a mandoline or a food processor to get even cuts. If the veggies are all about the same size, they will cook at the same time.
You toss them with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a little salt and white pepper.
You spread them on a single layer on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven for twenty minutes, or until tender.
After the first ten minutes, you can remove the sheet tray from the oven and sprinkle with a little water to create steam, cover with foil, and cook for another ten minutes. This keeps the veggies moist and tender.
For the Puree
Allow veggies to cool. Add one cup of veggies to the bowl of a food processor or the pitcher of a blender. Use three tablespoons of water or stock and pulse, then puree, adding more water or stock to reach the desired thickness.
For a soup, add enough stock to loosen the puree to the desired consistency. This can be vegetable or chicken stock, or even, as the great French chef Jacques Pepin recommends, water. For a cream soup, you can warm a little heavy cream or a little coconut milk and use that as your liquid. As a soup, these roasted veggies make a great snack.