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On a whim the other day I picked up a copy of Soups and Stews by Cook’s Illustrated. Not the book, but the one-off magazine that’s on stands nowish. I’ve read most of these recipes before but I was going to be on the T for a while and needed something to read. Happily, there was at least one recipe I’d never seen before and I’m glad I picked it up.

Heart Vegetable Soup.

Normally, anything with that title is a tomato-based soup and my husband can’t stand tomatoes. This, however, was seemingly tailored for a big CSA winter share. I’ll reproduce it below, with my notes to follow.

from Cook’s Illustrated Winter 2010 Soups and Stews, page 26

2 T vegetable oil
3 large carrots, 3/4 inch dice
2 large parsnips, 3/4 inch dice
2 small onion, minced
6 medium cloves of garlic, pressed
2 q. chicken broth
2 medium russet potatoes, cubes 1 inch
2 t. thyme, minced
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 slices hearth white bread, toasted
1 can cannellini beans
1 10-oz package of baby lima beans or peas, frozen
2 cups of curly spinach, stemmed and chopped
balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

1. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and cook carrots, parsnips and onions until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the broth, potatoes, and herbs and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Remove and discover the rosemary and bay. Remove 3 c. solids and 1 cup broth and add that, and the bread, to a food processor and buzz until smooth. Stir puree back in and add spinach, beans, and lima beans. Cook until spinach is tender, about 10 minutes. Add in a splash of vinegar, season, and serve.

My notes:

This is a really sweet soup. At least it’s been for me. I think that may be because the carrots are somewhere between enormous and bad sex-toy jokes, and they are sweet as candy. I added in some turnips, hoping they would tone down the sugar somewhat, but no joy. I will add more turnips next time. I’m also contemplating putting in one of the two celeriacs I still have.

I used kale from last share, starting to get a little limp, rather than spinach. The kale was fantastic.

I didn’t have any cannelini beans and I loathe lima beans like a root canal, so I didn’t add either. I didn’t miss the lima beans, but the cannelini beans would have been a welcome addition. All those carbs needed some protein.

So, as I watch my pile of root vegetables grow enormously, I gotta ask — what are you ladies doing with yours?

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