Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Food Matters: Creamy Carrot Soup

Where does your food come from? Is this a question that you have ever asked yourself? I don’t mean which specific grocery store or restaurant, but who is growing your food and what does it go through to arrive on your plate? Have you ever wondered why you can find tomatoes in the produce section of a Northeast grocery store in the middle of winter, when the closest ripe tomato plant is hundreds of miles away? Have you wondered what chickens and cows are being fed before the wind up on your dinner plate? Do you recognize all of the ingredients listed on the nutrition labels of the food you eat?

In Food Matters, Mark Bittman explores the link of the food you eat, your health, and the environment. He brings to light that it requires 40 calories of fossil fuel to produce one calorie of beef protein, and that 2,200 calories are required to provide a 12 oz. can of diet soda. It is a quick, worthwhile read, followed up by dozens of recipes using whole foods.

You may have noticed that I’ve been cooking with a lot of root vegetables and canned food lately (while gazing longingly at recipes that call for fresh tomatoes). This is great website to help you think fresh, local, and seasonal when planning your meals.

This carrot soup recipe is one found in Mr. Bittman's book. I’ve made it several times, and love any simple soup recipe that uses a sauté of onions in olive oil and a root vegetable that is then simmered in vegetable broth. Try this with butternut squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, etc. You can also add a splash of milk or cream, if you like. This soup is simple, healthy, and filling.

Creamy Carrot Soup
(Adapted from Food Matters)
3 tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 ½ pounds carrots, roughly chopped
1 large starchy potato, peeled and roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 cups vegetable stock
½ cup chopped Italian parsley, for garnish

Put the oil in a large, deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the carrots soften a bit. Add the stock and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pan. Or cool the mixture slightly (hot soup is dangerous), and pass it through a food mill or pour it into a blender. Puree until smooth, working in batches if necessary.

Garnish with parsley and serve.

1 comment:

  1. A Snow Day with no school - what better time to make Carrot Soup. I tried two versions. Melissa's from Food Network with orange zest and deglazed with white wine brings out the sweetness in the carrots. Mark's version (I used a sweet potato) has such depth of flavor and is so creamy. Hungry granddaughter gobbled it up! Both versions are keepers!