Late Winter Carrot Soup (Serves 8 -12)
This special hearty soup is tangy and thick enough to serve over pasta. Last week I used it on pizza under arugula, feta, caramelized onions, and fig jam. Nathaniel made a ragu for vegetable “noodles” from the Paderno Spiralizer. Served as a soup it can be garnished with pesto, or a drizzle of quality olive oil or balsamic vinegar. Domestic organic tomatoes are almost impossible to get in March; this recipe makes an excellent alternative.
Start the vegetables in the morning when puttering around the kitchen making breakfast. Cover and set aside (until after the newspaper) to finish.
Note: Ume Plum Vinegar has intense acid and salty components which help imitate the tanginess of tomato, and is a nice way to add those flavor profiles to sauces, soups, and dressings. It’s available in the Asian food section of most markets.
2 1/2 – 3 pounds local carrots (or bunched at the market still with their tops), peeled and cut into chunks
1 large yam or sweet potato (8 oz.), peeled and cut into large chunks
1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon mixed herbs (Italian, de Provence, or your favorite blend)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (plus more to give you the option of thinning the soup if you like)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup red wine (I used a Malbec the other day)
1 tablespoon Ume Plum Vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
pepper to taste
1. Set the carrots, sweet potato, ginger, herbs, and stock in a large pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes, or until the carrots and potato are soft and easily pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion, nutmeg, and pepper and cook over a medium low heat until the onions start to soften.
3. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the delicate garlic from burning, until the mixture is (sloppy) soft.
4. Turn off the heat and stir in the red wine, stirring to deglaze the pan. Set aside to cool.
5. Strain the carrots and sweet potato. Reserve the broth. Puree the vegetables in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth, adding 4-8 ounces of the broth as necessary to facilitate. You’ll notice a slight change in sound (to a lower “note”) when the mixture becomes finely mashed. Transfer back to the large pot.
6. In the same processor, puree the cooked onion mixture, again using a little broth to make it easier and faster. Transfer the mixture to the pot, and the remaining broth, Ume Plum Vinegar, and salt, and stir to blend. Heat and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: if you want a richer soup, add a cup of cream or coconut milk at the end. This will make it less suitable as a sauce, but it’ll still be delicious!