Soup Sundays – Curried Carrot Soup

Along with the Brunch Series, I am starting Soup Sundays.  This winter I started making soups on Sunday afternoons.  I like to take leftovers, or fresh ingredients that need to be used and make them into a delicious soup – the perfect Sunday night meal for those chilly winter afternoons.  I decided to post this little ritual for all of you to share.  Not only is making soup a nice, relaxing way to spend the afternoon, but then you have delicious leftovers to eat all week.  If you double the recipes you could free some as well.

Additionally, I’m not sure if I have adequately expressed my love of carrots.  I do love carrots.  They have to be on my top 5 of all vegetable options.  Of course, in America, we are often resigned to eating them raw with Ranch Dressing.  Gross.  I don’t not approve. (Speaking of which, if you have never seen Saturday Night Live’s skit on Ranch dressing, you much check it out here.)   There are so many better ways to utilize such a versatile veggie.

Carrots are actually a root vegetable, related to the potato and the dandelion.  Which means they are hearty, starchy, and packed with vitamins.  It also means there are many, many different types of carrots.  Did you know you can actually get a purple carrot?  No lie.  Check them out the next time you go to the farmer’s market.

I wanted to make a soup that highlighted my love of carrots and their versatility.  This soup is a great example of how carrots can rise above Ranch dressing and even complement Eastern spices.  In this recipe, I use crushed garlic and ginger because I like how they lend flavor to the soup.  I feel as though they permeate the soup better in this form.  Of course, you can just as easily substitute minced garlic and grated ginger.  I also use finely ground black pepper for the same reason.  My favorite is Tellicherry black pepper from The Spice House.

Curried Carrot Soup – A Delectable Endeavors Original

2 Tbl vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

4 cups of roughly chopped carrot

4-5 cloves garlic

1 Tbl grated ginger

1 Tbl of your favorite curry paste, or 2 tsp. of your favorite curry powder (I used red curry paste)

3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

1 14 oz can of coconut milk (I often use the lowfat kind and it works just fine)

1 Tbl lime juice

soy sauce to taste

Heat oil in a dutch oven or other large saucepan.  Add garlic and ginger.  Saute until fragrant (only about a minute).

Add onions and saute for a few minutes.  Add carrots and season generously with salt and pepper.  Let cook until they begin to soften.

Make a small space in the middle of the pan and add curry.   Let it cook a bit, then mix in the rest of the vegetables.  Pour stock over curry and vegetable mixture.  Let simmer until all of the vegetables are softened and cooked through.

Add coconut milk and reduce heat to low.  Let cook and combine for as long as you would like.  When you are ready to serve, add lime juice and soy sauce to taste.  Either let soup cool and blend it in a blender, or do what I do and take a hand blender to the pan.  I like to leave my soup a little chunky.

To serve, you can reserve a little of the coconut milk and swirl in the soup for a nice touch.

Vegetable and Tortellini Soup

After the chilly late fall weather, and stuffing myself on Thanksgiving, soup sounded lovely.  I like soup.  Especially in cold weather.  It’s the nice kind of warmth I need to feel like I can brave the outdoors again tomorrow.  Since I love cooking, I can’t just BUY soup.  No, no.  I need to MAKE soup.  Luckily for me, soup is incredibly easy to make.  There are some things I have learned over the process of writing this blog and that is there are some things you should rarely buy, because they are just too easy to make.

Exhibit 1: Cranberry sauce.  I had NO idea how simple cranberry sauce was until I made it for Thanksgiving this year.  Literally, you just boil cranberries in some liquid and add some sugar.  Just like that, you’re done.  Cranberry sauce.  Why would you ever buy it?  Plus, by making it, you can add some nice touches.  For instance, I boiled mine in orange juice and brandy.  I used some spices to liven it up.  I would post the recipe, but my fiance told me it tasted like a holiday candle (in other words, awful).  I didn’t think it was so bad  . . .

Exhibit 2: Creme Brulee.  I know, it sounds fancy and French, but its really just a custard with crystallized sugar on top.  Essentially, creme brulee is only 5 ingredients and a blow torch (or a broiler, if you know MY recipe).  Remember this the next time you order a $6 vanilla bean creme brulee for dessert.

Exhibit  3: Soup.  Now, creamy, blended soups are a little more difficult and require a little bit more work and some special equipment.  However, broth-based soups are pretty simple and can often be made from leftovers!  This soup is made from veggies most people have around the house and pre-made tortellini, but you could just as easily throw together soup from some leftover turkey or chicken, canned veggies, and broth.  Pasta and rice are great for another hearty layer.

This soup is really simple and delicous for a frosty winter night.

2 Tbl butter

1/2 large onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large tomato, diced

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups of water

2 Tbl of marinara sauce (or 1 Tbl pest0)

1 package of fresh or frozen cheese tortellini

1 1/2 cup fresh spinach, washed and torn, loosely

Melt butter in a large saucepan.  Add onion.  Cook until just barely translucent.  Add garlic.  Cook until fragrant; this should only take about 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes, water, and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Add marinara sauce or pesto to season.  Add tortellini.  Boil for 5 minutes, then add spinach.  Cook for 2 more minutes and serve!