Wednesday, July 2, 2008
In Love With Carrot Soup
If we're going to be completely honest here, I have never loved carrot soup before. Never. Not even when it was a staple food in my own mother's delicious holiday dinners. I made my mind up a long time ago that carrot soup and I just don't get along. Or so I thought...
Tonight as I scanned the contents of my refrigerator to invent a supper that would go gently down my baby's sore throat, my eye caught on a two pound bag of carrots gleaming in the artificial light of our veggie drawer. I quickly scanned through the list of alkaline and acidic foods given to me by the pediatrician and was relieved to discover that carrots are perfect! Alkaline enough to pass smoothly through his little throat, and nutritious enough to fill his tummy. So I decided to make peace once and for all with carrot soup... and set to work figuring out what hadn't worked for me in the past.
As I thought about it I realized a few things. Some carrot soups are way too healthy tasting, as though sprouts are going to suddenly start growing from your tongue as soon as you sip them. Others are too sweet for me - tasting more like odd apple smoothies. There is also such a thing as a carrot soup that is just too carroty. My taste buds are excited by subtlety and complexity in flavoring, not being hit over the head with one single taste.
In an effort to find an element that would complement the carrot and give it complexity, I considered and rejected sun dried tomatoes (too acidic), celery (too stringy) and ginger (too sharp). Finally, inspiration struck. It came in the form of an herb whose flavor easily outshines carrot in terms of memorable flavoring. So strong in fact, most people either love or hate it.
Drumroll please... the secret ingredient is:
Roasted garlic. A whole head. No backing off, no chance to change your mind. Just one huge gorgeous drippy, perfumy head of roasted garlic - perfectly blended into the mix. It's enough to make your knees quiver.
Our whole family fell in love with carrot soup tonight. We hope you enjoy it too.
Carrot Soup with Roasted Garlic
What you'll need:
1 large head of garlic
1 metal baking pan
2 lbs carrots, unpeeled
1/2 medium sized white onion
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper from mill
1/4 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups liquid (chicken stock, water, or water plus bouillion)
1/2 cup dry white wine
Italian parsley for garnish
How it works:
Preheat oven to 400. Cut about 1/3 - 1/2 inch off of head of garlic and place head on metal baking sheet or small tin. Cover the head completely with olive oil, and then wrap top with tin foil. Roast covered garlic in oven for 30 minutes. Reserve chopped off tips of the head of garlic, do not throw away.
While garlic head is roasting, take 2 lbs of carrots, wash them and cut off tips. Do not peel. Slice into 1/3 inch wide rounds and set aside in a bowl.
Next, take remaining quantity of garlic from tips - peel skin off of it and then mince by hand or grind in chopper. Comes to approx 2 1/4 tsp of garlic. (If this seems like too much work you can always just take new cloves of garlic and mince the same amount.)
Mince white onion and place it in a seperate bowl.
Put two tablespoons of olive oil in 3 quart sauce pan at medium heat. Add your minced garlic and onion, the sliced carrots, cumin, fresh ground pepper and salt. Sautee all ingredientsfor 1 - 2 minutes until onions turn clear.
Add all of your chosen liquid (chicken stock, water, etc.) and the dry white wine and bay leaf. Turn heat up to medium high, bring soup mixture to a boil. Once it boils, turn heat to low and simmer 30 minutes.
Ladle broth and vegetable mixture into blender (or a standard blender in batches). Remove head of roasted garlic from oven and take head out of foil. Gently squeeze the individual soft cloves out of the roasted papery hull. Put soft roasted garlic (yes, the whole head) into blender with soup mixture.
Blend on high for 1 - 2 minutes, until completely smooth. Transfer to your serving bowl. Gently stir in 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream by hand.
Garnish with Italian Parsley as desired.
Served in our home with organic quinoa.
Feeds 4 - 6.