Oven Roasted Red Potato Soup

Oven Roasted Red Potato Soup
Welcome to March.
Today I was outside in the orchard planting my first Honeycrisp apple tree.  Although the temp was round 45 degrees today,  the wind was cool and there is enough moisture in the air to give you a chill.  I stood back shivering, and thinking of the apples this tree is going to yeild if I take good care of him.  One day, it is going to be warm, but for now, it was time to go inside.  Brr.  There was just enough of this soup left to warm me up!
I made this oven roasted potato soup last weekend when there was still snow on the ground.  I had been thinking of recipes for the month of March.  The family I married into is Irish and each year I host an Irish dinner on St. Patrick’s day.  I have been doing this for the past seven years.  To commemorate this day, one can only eat so much corned beef and cabbage.  This year, I needed to come up with something consistent with the Irish culture and spectacular enough to spur some excitement from the guests.  If a soup can be spectacular, this is it.  It’s earthy, flavorful, and roasting the vegetables adds flavor that simmered vegetables cannot.  I will also mention that it stores well, so it can be made ahead of time and reheated.  It makes for great weeknight meals when you are running your kids all over town and it is vegetarian if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Oven Roasted Red Potato Soup

5 large red potatoes, diced medium
1 large red onion, diced medium
12 oz sliced mushrooms, I used cremini
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
3 T. olive oil, divided
5 C. vegetable or chicken broth
4 stalks of celery, sliced thin on the bias
3/4 C. cream
1 T. chives
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
On a large cookie sheet, preferably a jelly roll pan, combine potatoes, onion, mushrooms, garlic cloves, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Using your hands arrange the vegetables on the cookie sheet turning to coat evenly with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes, turning every15 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.  Meanwhile, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven and saute celery until just cooked through and slightly soft, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
When vegetables are golden brown, remove pan from oven.  In a food processor, add half the vegetables and 1 C. of chicken broth.  Blend until smooth.  Add the vegetables and the vegetable puree to the large pot with the celery.  Add remaining broth and bring to a simmer, stirring occassionally.  Turn off heat and add cream and chives.  Serve with wheat rolls and a green salad. 

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