Monday, August 13, 2012

Two fer...

I love soup.  It's homey, comfort in a bowl.  And I especially love the cooling goodness of a chilled soup in the summer.

Plus it's super easy to make.

The trick is to layer your flavors into your pot instead of just doing a whole lot of chop and drop.  Thomas Keller, of French Laundry fame, speaks of the importance of taking time with your food preparation.  Not to say that you need to spend hours over a stock pot, but allowing the flavors of each ingredient to develop (especially when you use so few) adds tremendous depth to your food.  Once you have a handle on the basic methods, you can play around with the ingredients. 

Here are two variations on a carrot soup that will knock your socks off!

Chilled Curried Carrot Soup

This refreshing soup is great as an accompaniment to a Kale Salad or Curried Israeli Couscous.  The tartness of the lime juice plays nicely with the sweetness of the carrots and coconut.

1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
2 Tbl olive oil
3 Tbl curry powder
1 tsp salt
5 cups water
1 can of coconut milk
zest and juice of one lime
2 green onions, chopped

In a stock pot, heat oil and curry over medium heat, stirring for about one minute.  Add onions and saute until tender.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add carrots and stir to coat with curry infused oil.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes.

Using your perfectly functioning immersion blender, puree until smooth.  Pass soup through a sieve, discarding all of the solids.  Stir in coconut milk and lime juice and zest.  Chill completely.  Serve with a wedge of lime and chopped scallions on top.

Change up the herbs slightly and you have a totally different taste experience...

I'm sorry...I love this picture.

Chilled Carrot Soup with Dill

This is a fantastic little soup for hot summer nights. Serve with a salad and some crusty bread and, vi-oh-lay, you've got dinner!  I find that veggie stock muddles the taste of this soup, so I recommend using water.

1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
5 cups water
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 sprigs dill, plus 1 Tbl finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme
2 Tbl olive oil

In a large pot, heat oil over a medium flame and add onions. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Create a bundle with the dill and thyme, and throw it into the pot.  Add carrots and cook until they soften a bit.  Add stock, zest, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and discard the herb bundle. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. Ladle the soup into a bowl through a sieve, pressing on solids and discard the pulp. Stir in reserved dill and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Garnish with a sprig of dill (and maybe a dollop of yogurt or sour cream).

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