Wednesday, September 29

It's My Favorite Season--Soup Season

I love soup. I love the aromas filling the house as a pot cooks on the stove. I love the warmth and comfort I feel as it meanders down my throat and settles in my tummy. And I mostly love soup on a cold day, like today. I love the juxtaposition of the cold outside versus the warmth inside my home.

What I do NOT love about soup, is making it. A good soup...takes....time. This is soup's greatest weakness and precisely why the canned soup business is a multi-billion dollar industry. But, let's face it, canned soup is never as good as homemade. I'm just sayin'.

Carrot Soup with Indian Spices,
Garnished with Sour Cream and Chives
For all you fellow soup-lovers, I'm passing along one of my favorite soup recipes, and the best thing about it is—you can make it, start to finish, in 45 minutes. That's like a nanosecond in soup-making terms!

The original recipe is from Cakebread Cellars. It's called, "Carrot Soup with Garam Masala and Fromage Blanc," which sounds fancier than how I describe it, "Carrot soup with Indian spices, garnished with sour cream."

I know it sounds a bit odd, but if you like Indian cuisine, this is absolutely fabulous. Plus it's low-fat, since its base is chicken stock, not cream.

If you think your kids won't like it, give it a try. My 12-year-old and 10-year-old love it. And it's good either hot or cold. Make up a batch for dinner, then take some for lunch tomorrow.

The original recipe is below, but be sure to read my notes that follow it for some helpful hints on preparation and substitutions.

Carrot Soup (Serves 8)

  • 2 yellow onions, halved & thinly sliced
  • 1 tart apple, Granny Smith, peeled, cored & thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs. carrots, peeled & thinly sliced*
  • 2 tsp. garam masala or curry powder**
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt***
  • fromage blanc, at room temperature****
  • chopped fresh chives
  • salt and pepper

  • Combine the onion, apple, and olive oil in a large saucepan. Heat over high heat and cook for 3 minutes, until softened. 
  • Add the carrots and garam masala. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the chicken stock and the 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook, uncovered on a low simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
  • Transfer small batches of the soup to a blender. Put the lid on the blender and remove the vent cover on top. Cover the vent with a towel to release steam. Puree, in batches, until smooth. (Or, if you have an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the saucepan.)
  • Return the pureed soup to a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until warmed through.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle into serving bowls. Add a dollop of fromage blanc and sprinkle with chives.

The Indian spice mix I use.

* If you want to save time, buy carrot chips instead of whole carrots. Or use a food processor to slice the carrots, onions and apple.
** I don't like the flavor of garam masala so I use a different spice mix. It's from Arora Creations and it's their blend for Chick Peas. Here's a picture of it. You can find it at Whole Foods in the international aisle.
*** Chicken stock already has a lot of sodium in it, so I skip the salt.
**** You can find fromage blanc at Whole Foods, but frankly, it's very similar to sour cream and in my mind, not worth the hefty price tag. I use light sour cream instead.


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