Posts Tagged "soup"

Carrot Soup

 

carrot soup2

Though I enjoy carrots all year round, there’s something about spring that makes me think of this soup. Perhaps it’s the bright orange color, or the fact that I often associate carrots with bunnies, which makes me think of Easter, which makes me think of spring. The bottom line is that I love this soup and it works during many different seasons.

All credit for this recipe goes to Alice Waters and her amazing cookbook The Art of Simple Food.

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It is a perfect cookbook, one everyone should have. I’m sharing her recipe here because a) I love it and b) to hopefully convince people to go out and buy/borrow this book. I really do love it that much.

Anyway, as for the recipe. As for most of Alice’s recipes, it allows for many variations. This is my variation:

In a large stock pot, melt:

3 tablespoons of butter

Add:

2 medium onions, sliced

Sauté for at least 10 minutes. This builds a ton of flavor. If you have fresh thyme, add that as well. Then add:

about 6 cups of sliced carrots.
Season with salt.

Sauté for another 5 minutes to build more flavor. Then add:

6 cups of homemade vegetable broth, or a combination of broth and water. 

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Once the carrots are tender, puree the soup and season with salt, if needed. (Also add more liquid if the soup is too thick for your personal taste.)

For garnishes:

Alice gives many variations. My favorite combinations, so far:

mascarpone cheese, stirred into each bowl, or plain Greek yogurt
homemade croutons*
chives
freshly ground black pepper

This soup is so simple, yet so sweet and buttery. It is a refreshing soup even on a hot summer day.

Enjoy!

*How to make homemade croutons:

For this soup, I kept the croutons simple. I often put garlic and herbs on my croutons, but since this soup has such a delicate flavor, I didn’t want to overpower it with over-seasoned croutons. You can use any kind of bread, but for this soup, I loved the flavor of whole wheat bread.

Cut whole wheat bread into cubes, drizzle with olive oil and  sprinkle with salt and bake for about 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until they are nice and brown.

 

 

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Asparagus Soup

Another favorite asparagus recipe. It’s the perfect spring soup.

Asparagus from: Northridge Organic Farm and Doran’s Farm (both at the Westerville Farmers’ Market).

asparagus

Start by cutting the asparagus into three pieces. The tough ends (the stalks), the middle, and the tips. I used about 3 large bunches of asparagus.

asparagus3

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil (or a combination of water and chicken stock, or even all chicken stock), along with the asparagus stalks and some salt and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Next heat 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add 2 large onions, sliced. Sauté until soft, about 20 minutes. Don’t let them brown. If they do, add a touch of water.

Cut the middle part of the asparagus into one inch pieces and add to the onions. Season with salt. Let them sauté for about another 10 minutes.

Next take the pot with the water and asparagus stalks. Discard the stalks and add the flavored water (or stock) to the asparagus/onions. Let simmer about 30 minutes.

Then, using either an immersion blender or stand blender, puree the soup. Once smooth, add the asparagus tips to the soup, along with about 3 tablespoons of half and half (or heavy cream). Simmer on low for a few minutes until the tips are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

When serving, garnish each bowl with grated parmesan cheese, paprika, freshly ground pepper, and garlic croutons (homemade, of course). Enjoy!

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soupbowl

 

 

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Classic French Onion Soup. a.k.a The Soup that Requires a Box of Tissues to Make.

A fair warning. This recipe has a lot of steps. East steps, yes, but there’s a lot of them. See, I’m in my late twenties, I don’t have a family of my own yet, so on my day off, if I want to spend over four hours in the kitchen making soup, I can do it. In fact, when I saw this French onion soup recipe, its main appeal was how long it would take.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for old classic recipes that take hours to make.

The recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated Soups, Stews and Chilis. I’ve been searching for a good soup cookbook for years and can now say that this is the one I’ve been searching for. It’s perfect. So all credit goes to the wonderful editors of Cook’s Illustrated.

To begin the recipe you:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut 4 lbs of yellow onions into slices (cut with the grain). Spray a dutch oven with cooking spray, put the onions into the dutch oven, mix with 1 teaspoon of salt and 3 tablespoons of butter (cut into 3 pieces). Cover it and bake it for one hour.

Sounds simple, right? Except they forget to mention one minor detail in the recipe. You’re going to need an entire box of tissues to cut 4 lbs of onions. My eyes have always been sensitive to onions. They started watering after slicing 1/2 an onion. I still had 3 1/2 onions to go, so I knew I was in trouble. The process, for me, went like this: Cut an onion. Run to the bathroom and wipe eyes. Give eyes a minute to stop burning. Go back to the kitchen. Cut another onion. Try not to cut finger off while eyes are on fire and tears are blinding vision. Run back to the bathroom again.

By the time I was done, onions and tissues were all over the floor. I didn’t feel very French at this point.

This is what 4 lbs of onions looks like:

onionscutting-1

And this is what the onions look like after baking for an hour:

onions1-1

 

Next: stir the onions and scarp the sides of the pot. Put the onions back in the oven, covered partially this time (leave about an inch open) and cook for another 1 1/2 hours to 1 3/4 hours. When you take them out of the oven, they look like this:

onions2-1

 

This time, after you pull them out of the oven, you put them on the stove and cook them over medium high heat for about 20-25 minutes. Stir and scrap the pot until the liquid evaporates and there’s a brown coating on the bottom. They will look like this:

onions3-1

 

Add 1/4 cup of water and scrap up the brown parts from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water evaporates (about 6-8 minutes this time). Repeat this process 2 or 3 times. By the end, the onions will look like this:

onions4-1

 

See how much darker they are? And to think it’s just water, onions, and butter! Anyway, stir in 1/2 cup of dry sherry and let cook for about 5 minutes. At this point I added 4 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of water (the recipe called for beef stock instead of water, but I obviously skipped the beef). Also add thyme, a bay leaf, and salt. Scrap the brown bits and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.

Finish it off by topping each broiler proof bowl of soup with a piece of toasted bread and a handful of Gruyere cheese. Put under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

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So the verdict? This soup is amazing! The flavor is worth every single step. With that said, this is not a soup I will be doing more than once or twice a year.

And also: buy this cookbook or get it from the library. It is an excellent soup book to have on hand. I will be definitely trying more recipes soon (just maybe ones that don’t take 4 hours to make.)

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