This is a good way to eat up all those roots. The roots are roasted, then put into individual soup bowls and the soup is ladled overtop. Instead of beef, you can use lamb, pork, turkey, chicken, and, I imagine, vegetarian substitutes. If using poultry, you may want to use poultry broth, and, of course, vegetable broth for vegetarian protein.
4 c chopped roots–carrots, turnips, celeriac, radish, winter squash
4 T vegetable oil, divided
2 c chopped onion
1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 – 1 lb ground beef or other protein
4 c broth
2 c canned tomatoes with juice, chopped up if necessary
2 c milk, or use more broth
1 c pearl barley
1 bay leaf
2 t dried thyme or other dried herb, or a combination
salt and pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, for serving,optional
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine chopped roots with 2 T of the oil in a baking pan. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the pieces. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool chop the pieces into smaller, 1/2 inch – 3/4 inch pieces, bite-sized, as it were.
2. Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat remaining 2 T oil. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, another minute or two. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring to break up, another 5 minutes or so. Add the remaining ingredients (not the roasted vegetables) and bring to a simmer.
3. Simmer, covered, until barley is tender. This can be anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. (I always find that barley takes almost an hour on my stove.) Remove from stovetop and taste for seasonings.
4. Put a portion of the roasted roots in a soup bowl and ladle the barley soup overtop. Or, put the roots, crouton-style, onto the soup. Sprinkle with some grated cheese, if you like, but the soup doesn’t really need it.