I’ve been debating whether or not to share this. So many food shows and magazines and blogs offer gorgeous pictures of delicious foods that you (and I) can’t wait to rush home and try. But, real cooking isn’t like that. Sometimes you make mistakes. Sometimes things are tasty, but aren’t that pretty. And sometimes recipes just aren’t very good. Someone once confessed to me that they were afraid to cook new things because they don’t always turn out. To which I replied, yes, you will make things that are not good. The truth behind the shiny, mouth-watering photos is there are times when we all do. This is one of those times.
I found this recipe for Roasted Vegetable Soup in an issue of Real Simple, a magazine that I find, perhaps fittingly, a bit simplistic. However, I’d previously found a fantastic recipe for split pea soup within their pages, so when I saw this recipe I was game to try it. Roasted veggies are delicious, healthy, and, aside from the initial chopping, incredibly easy to make. The recipe consisted of little more than combining them with some broth and blending them into a smooth puree. How could that be bad?
Somehow, it was. Well, it wasn’t bad, just bizarrely tasteless for a bunch of vegetables that had shone so brightly in the cobblers I’d made the week before. There was no dominating flavor, except for that of the orange juice which, moments after I’d added it, I realized had no business being there. Salt was clearly lacking, so I added more of that and things improved a little bit, but there was still something missing. I threw in some dried thyme and it got a little better. Then I threw in some dried sage and, well, it got a little worse. I ate a bowl for dinner that night and packed up the rest in containers to freeze for work lunches, but when I came home the next day I knew they would just languish in my freezer, waiting for that day when I was so lazy I couldn’t be bothered to make something that I’d grab it in desperation and spend the entire morning completely unexcited to eat my lunch. I’m not big on wasting foods and actively look forward to leftovers, but this time that soup went in the garbage. Sorry.
In the interest of sharing my honest experience with recipes, here is my first bad one of the year. I expect there will be more, but that doesn’t deter me at all. Every failure is a chance to learn something new, even if it’s just that I will never make that recipe again. That’s the case with this soup.
Think you can make it better? Here’s the recipe below, waiting for some major improvements.
Roasted Vegetable Soup
4 cups roasted vegetables
4-5 cups vegetable broth
kosher salt and black pepper
½ cup orange juice
In a large saucepan, combine the roasted vegetables, 5 cups of broth, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are very soft, 10-15 minutes. Stir in the orange juice.
Working in batches, transfer the vegetable mixture to a blender and puree until smooth, adding more broth if necessary to reach the desired consistency.
Makes 4 servings. (Or 1, sadly.)