Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Winter Soups, Part I: Cream of Carrot Soup

At this time of year there are so many fall vegetables available locally that's it difficult to know what to do with them all. If you have a root cellar or cold room you could always store them away for the winter, but most people just aren't that lucky. What do I do with my extra veggies? Well, I make them into soup!

I was raised in a save-it-for-later-use kind of family, meaning we saved everything. From slightly used tin foil to old egg cartons to yogurt containers, our cupboards were full of save-it-for-later junk. I inherited this little trait from my mother, but I've toned it down a few notches. I try not to have a drawer bursting with used tin foil, but I definitely have a cupboard full of plastic yogurt containers and I strongly urge others to follow my lead. These handy little containers make the perfect vessel for freezing batches of soup. One container feeds two people.
In this next series of posts I am going to share a number of fall recipes perfect for the cold, lazy days of winter. These soups go really well with home baked crusty artisan bread and a mixed green salad - and they're healthy to boot. My first offering is one of the most delicious soups I have ever tasted and it comes from The Joy of Cooking - a cookbook that keeps on giving. I grew my own carrots this year; three varieties of organic, heirloom carrots. I even grew rainbow carrots. And I turned them all into soup!

Cream of Carrot Soup

Heat in a soup pot over medium-low heat until the butter is melted:
1/4 cup water or stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
Add and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, 5 to 10 minutes:
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Stir in:
4 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 pounds chopped carrots
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the carrots are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Puree until smooth. Return to the pot and stir in:
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream, half-and-half, milk, or soy milk
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
Simmer briefly and ladle into warmed bowls. Garnish with:
Chopped fresh parsley, snipped fresh dill, chives or cilantro

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