Soups are fun. Literally anything can go in soup. I love finding new things that TONS of flavor — the smoked salt and smoked ham shanks from my last soup post, white wine to deglaze a pan, bay leaves (a must!), combinations of broths and parmesan rinds. <!–more–> What’s a parmesan rind? The rind from parmesan — not the green can stuff, the real stuff. The stuff you buy from the deli section of your grocery store. It usually comes in a triangle and the outer edge of it is a darker color and a lot harder. Cut that baby off and throw it in a baggie in the freezer. Next time you’re making soup, toss it in the pot. Instant flavor overload. Orzo is a pasta that almost looks like rice. It makes a great addition to soups.
Earlier this summer I roasted sweet potatoes in balsamic vinegar and fell in love. The tangy sweetness of the balsamic is amazing against the earthy sweetness of the potato. Give it a try!
Orzo, Roasted Sweet Potato, Parmesan Soup
4-5 small Sweet Potatoes, cubed — I didn’t peel them first, but you certainly can
3 tbs Oil of your choice
3 tbs Balsamic Vinegar
2 Leeks, peel off the outer husks, cut the top and bottom off, cut into thin rounds. (Diced onions can substitute)
2 tbs Butter
3 cloves Garlic, minced
64 oz Vegetable Broth
2 Parmesan Rinds — 1 is fine, if that’s all you have. But you’ll wish you had 2 😉
2 Bay Leaves
2 cups Orzo, uncooked
Preheat oven to 425°F
In a bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, oil, balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon or 2 of salt
Pour it on a cookie sheet with high sides or in a casserole dish and spread into a single layer
Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to turn dark in color
— This can be done a day or 2 in advance, if you want. Just keep them in the refrigerator.
In a large stock pot over medium heat, add the leeks (or onions), a teaspoon of salt and butter
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks start to turn golden — 5-6 minutes
Add the garlic and cook until you can really smell it
Pour in the vegetable broth and stir, scraping the bottom
Toss in the parmesan rinds and bay leaves
Raise the temperature and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low
Once the parmesan rinds have started to melt and soften, pull them out and cut into small pieces
Toss them back into the pot
Add the orzo and the sweet potatoes
Cook until the orzo is done, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes
Enjoy all of those little bites of parmesan goodness!