Food Week 2010: Soup

I know it’s still technically summer, but let’s face it, fall creeps up on you and then there you are – leaves are changing and it’s getting cooler. Soup is such a good meal whether it’s for lunch or a simple supper.

When I was venturing into cooking and finding out that I liked it one thing that intimidated me was soup. How did one make good soup? I played around with things like turkey soup after a big holiday meal, but it never had that flavor that I loved in soup. You know, the kind that wraps you up and hugs you. Mine always ended up tasting watery. It wasn’t until I worked at a coffee shop that had a soup of the day that I learned a secret. The owner’s mother in law came in a couple times each week to prepare the soups and one day during a day shift I mentioned my wanting to learn the trick to making good soup. Do you know what she said?

“Making good soup is easy. You just need to start with your veggies.”

It sounded too simple so I probed her a bit more. She told me that you start with your veggies, and saute them in a bit of butter first. It develops the flavors. Think of sauteed onions and how delicious they smell. You know the flavor is coming out, right? That’s the trick. Start with your veggies, saute them, and then start adding your broth and other stuff. Since I’ve put this in to practice I haven’t made a bad batch of soup. Not kidding.

Today’s recipe is something I stumbled upon on AllRecipes.com. At first I wondered if there was any way I could pull of a whole pot of cooked veggies with my husband who doesn’t eat cooked veggies. I thought I would try it. And you know what? The whole time it was cooking he kept coming into the kitchen asking what smelled so good. By the time it was ready he was taking samples out of the pot and wondering when dinner would be on the table. It was that good.

CREAMY CARROT SOUP

Ingredients:

1 c chopped onion
1/4 c butter, cubed
4 1/2 c sliced or grated carrot*
1 large potato, peeled and cubed*
8 c water
3-4 chicken bullion cubes**
2-3 tsp powdered ginger, or fresh grated ginger
1 c cream
1 tsp dried rosemary chopped or crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

*To reduce cooking time I occasionally grate the carrots and potato. Also makes the blending later on easier.
**I like a lot of flavor so I would probably use more than this. Start with some and add more later if desired.

Instructions:

1. Saute onion in butter in a large dutch oven or soup pot until tender. Add carrots, potato, water, bullion cubes and ginger. Cover and cook on medium for about 30 minutes, until carrots and potatoes are tender.
2. Remove from heat and take off cover. Let cool for 20-30 minutes.
3. Pour 2-3 cups at a time into a blender and blend until everything is pureed. Return pureed soup to pot.
4. Stir in cream, rosemary, salt and pepper.
5. Heat just enough to heat through. You can also serve it cool for a summer treat.
6. Serve with crusty, warm bread and butter. Mmmm.

The Tricky Trickster Trick:

One time I made this soup and had lots of leftovers. We had unexpected company a couple days later and I was scrambling for meal ideas that would use what I had in the house. Because I can’t just run to the grocery store. I thought I would make Mac & Cheese, but only had a bit of cheese, not enough to give the dish enough flavor. On a whim I put about 3 cups of the left over soup in the Mac & Cheese. It was good. It was so good that everyone eating was telling me how good it was, and no one had any idea that the secret ingredient was leftover carrot soup. And, it was a way to get veggies into a “comfort food” meal. Dare you to try it! You can use last years Mac & Cheese recipe as a base.

Enjoy!

~Leslie

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

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