Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Starting off the New Year with Soup
I love me some carrot soup. I always seem to keep the ingredients on hand so it is an easy, I-am-feeling-too-lazy-to-cook-anything-hard sort of dish. Only when I made it this last weekend for New Year's Day, I went crazy and made bread sticks from scratch and spinach and steak with mushrooms too. The steak I cooked in my newly clean and seasoned cast iron skillet. That recipe is coming tomorrow. But first, the carrot soup!
Jennevieve's Four Spice Carrot Soup
Serves 4 as first course
3 Tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped medium dice
1 teaspoon harissa
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1/2 lb sunchokes (can substitute potatoes)
a few sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth
Note on sunchokes: These little root nubs are also known as Jerusalem Artichokes and look like potatoes once they are peeled and chopped but they are actually the root of a type of sunflower and impart a subtle artichoke-like flavor to dishes. As far as I can tell, either you will love them or hate them; I have yet to meet someone who thinks they are so-so. They are more and more frequently found in Farmer's Markets and fancy grocery stores. Try them at least once.
Start by sauteing your onions and spices in butter. Of course you can easily substitute spices or add less, but I found this perfect combination that gives this soup some zip and pizazz. Cook over medium heat until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add carrots, sunchokes, thyme, and bay leaf. Salt if desired. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add broth and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until carrots and sunchokes are tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove thyme and bay and blend soup with an immersion blender. Alternately, you can use a potato masher or food processor but an immersion blender is best. You can add cilantro just before blending or garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro.
Serve with homemade bread sticks if you have 'em.
And make sure you have a good 2000 piece puzzle to work on while you eat the soup. This is our tradition every New Year's. This year we are putting together Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and it is quite the challenge. He use the same colors and brush stroke style through out the painting and so every piece looks like it could go just about anywhere!
My friend Kimberly commented that she loves seeing how messy my kitchen is in my photos. Here you go, Kimberly, this is just for you!
Steak with mushrooms coming tomorrow!