Kathy Gunst Shares the Comfort of Soup

Roasted Fall Veggie Soup from Soup Swap by Kathy Gunst, photographs by Yvonne Duivenvoorden (Chronicle Books, 2016)

During the cool months, create community and delicious meals with a soup swap.  Kathy Gunst, author of 15 cookbooks and renowned host of NPR’s Here and Now, shares inspiration served with a side of comfort with her newest book Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes to Make and Share.

From Soup Swap by Kathy Gunst, photographs by Yvonne Duivenvoorden (Chronicle Books, 2016)

Gunst started a Soup Swap with six couples during the cold winter months in Maine.  “Everyone would bring a pot of soup along with empty containers and introduce the soup and its story,” Gunst explains.  “Everyone would leave with meals for the week, and the soups just go better and better with time.”  Sharing soup and stories strengthened the foundation of friendship and community.  Gunst noticed that this experience brought families together into the kitchen as they all helped make the soup for the swap.

You can taste the world in a bowl of soup, and as Kathy Gunst says, “The possibilities of soup are endless.”  Here are her three tips for the home chef:

  1. Cook with love.  “It’s a gift, not a chore.”
  2. Once a week, pick a new ingredient such as fresh lemon grass.  “It will wake you up out of a cooking rut.”
  3. Have no fear in the kitchen.  Just cook.  You have a chance to cook and eat again tomorrow.

Here is Kathy Gunst’s recipe for Roasted Fall Veggie Soup featured in Soup Swap, photographs by Yvonne Duivenvoorden (Chronicle Books 2016)




When you roast winter root vegetables along with shallots, leeks, and garlic, they caramelize and become sweet. Although this soup takes about an hour from start to finish, the resulting flavor is startlingly complex. It’s important to cut the vegetables about the same size to ensure even cooking.

3 medium leeks

3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-in [12-mm] pieces

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-in [12-mm] pieces

One 2-lb [910-g] butternut squash or any type of winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-in [12-mm] cubes

2 large or 3 medium celery stalks, cut crosswise into 1/2-in [12-mm] pieces

1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2-in [12-mm] cubes

2 shallots, quartered

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 2 tsp dried

3 Tbsp olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

5 cups [1.2 L] Vegetable Stock or canned low-sodium broth

3/4 cup [180 ml] dry white wine

Parsley Pesto for serving

Double-Cheese Croutes for serving

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F [200°C].
  2. Trim off the dark green sections from the leeks and save for making vege­table stock. Halve the pale green and white sections lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water, pat dry, and cut crosswise into ½-in [12-mm] pieces.
  3. In one large or two medium very shal­low roasting pan(s) or rimmed baking sheet(s), combine the leeks, parsnips, carrots, squash, celery, celery root, shallots, garlic, and thyme. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to evenly coat the vegetables. You don’t want to have vegetables on top of one another; you want them in a single layer.
  4. Roast the vegetables for 20 min­utes. Turn the oven temperature to 450°F [230°C] and roast for another 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are a nice golden brown, almost crispy on the edges, and almost soft when you gently test them with a fork or small, sharp knife. You don’t want them soft and mushy; they will continue cooking in the soup.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large stockpot over high heat, bring the vegetable stock to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-low and gently simmer.
  6. Remove the vegetables from the oven, add the wine, and deglaze the pan, using a spatula to loosen any bits clinging to the bottom. Pour every­thing from the baking sheet into the stock. Turn the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Ladle the soup into mugs or bowls and serve piping hot, topped with the pesto and croutes.


TO GO: Pack the pesto and croutes separately.

What are your favorite soups?

Savor the day!

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