Time: About 1 3/4 hours. This soup is built on root vegetables roasted until sweet, dense, and crisply browned. Roast meatballs at the same time, pour in broth, and you have soup straight from the oven. Warm some bread alongside the soup while you're at it.
1 small peeled, seeded butternut squash
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
2 large carrots, peeled
2 large parsnips, peeled
15 to 20 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 pound ground turkey (not breast only)
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 large leeks, cut into 1/4-in. slices and rinsed
1 large head fennel, cut into 1/4-in. slices (reserve feathery fronds for garnish)
8 cups reduced-sodium or homemade chicken broth*
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 425° and arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Cut squash, potatoes, carrots, and parsnips into 1-in. pieces and put in a large oiled roasting pan; add garlic. Toss with 2 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper and spread out in a single layer, leaving as much room as possible around the pieces. Roast vegetables on lower rack about 40 minutes, or until browned and tender (stir after they've browned underneath, about 25 minutes).
Meanwhile, make meatballs: With wet hands, mix turkey, fennel seeds, egg, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper together in a small bowl. Oil your hands with some of remaining oil. Shape turkey mixture into 1-in. meatballs and set them on an oiled rimmed baking sheet as you go, using more oil as needed to coat them well. Roast meatballs on upper rack 15 to 20 minutes, turning a couple of times to brown well on all sides.
Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and fennel, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in broth and bring to a boil over high heat, covered. Lower heat and simmer vegetables until meltingly soft, about 25 minutes.
When vegetables in oven have caramelized and meatballs are browned, remove both from oven. Transfer meatballs to roasting pan. Pour a ladleful of hot broth into baking sheet and scrape up browned bits; pour into roasting pan along with all contents of pot and gently scrape up vegetables' browned bits. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes to let flavors mingle. Serve with hunks of warm bread.
*For a recipe, go to sunset.com/chickenbroth.
Note: Nutritional analysis is per 1 1/2-cup serving.