Winter White Vegetable Soup
1 medium beet, trimmed (about 8 ounces)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 small head cauliflower, coarsely chopped (4 cups)
2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (3 cups)
1 medium celeriac, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (3 cups)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (3 cups)
1 large fennel bulb, sliced (discard leafy tops) (2 cups)
2 medium parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, halved
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives (optional)
Wrap beet in foil. Roast in a 400° oven for 1 hour or just until tender; cool. Peel and dice; set aside.
In a 4-quart Dutch oven cook and stir onion in hot butter over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender. Add cauliflower, turnips, celeriac, potatoes, fennel, parsnips, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 cups milk. Let cool slightly.
Transfer soup mixture in batches to a blender container or food processor bowl; cover and blend or process until smooth. Return all soup to Dutch oven; add additional milk to reach desired consistency. Heat through. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with beets and, if desired, chives.
Make-ahead directions: Roast, peel, and dice beet as above. Cover and chill up to 24 hours. For soup, prepare through step 2. After cooling slightly, blend or process as in step 3. Transfer mixture to a storage container; refrigerate up to 24 hours. To serve, return mixture to Dutch oven; stir in additional milk to desired consistency. Heat through and serve as above.