Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thanksgiving: The Soup

This here is the world-famous "Endless Carrot Soup." I mentioned it a while back under its "endless" moniker because it has nearly limitless possibilities for variation, but this will likely be the variation--of the endless variations, hence the name--possible with this soup. As you pore over the measurements and times keep in mind this is pretty freehand, measure-by-eyeballing stuff, so don't get all hung up on the exact thing written.

1 large onion or two medium leeks (white & pale green parts only)
2T butter or rendered bacon drippings (or a combination)
2t smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic
1 lb. carrots
2 c. chicken stock

Sauté the (roughly diced) onion or leeks (cleaned well) in the butter or bacon drippings. Cook for a long time (15 minutes at least) over medium heat, just to "sweat" then slightly caramelize. Add paprika and garlic and cook for a couple minutes longer. Add carrots, peeled and sliced. Continue to saute for another 5 minutes (ideally, you want to caramelize a bit of the carrot). Add stock to cover by an inch, and cook for 20 minutes at a steady simmer, until carrots are tender.

Here is the tricky bit! This soup tastes better made a 2-3 days before so you should stop here, and allow it to cool. Cool soup will be much easier to puree in a regular blender (pureeing hot soups in blenders will be slow or explosive or both) until the soup is smooth. You can, of course, use a food mill, food processor, or a hand blender but nothing beats the regular blender for smoothness. After pureeing, which can be a couple of days before, bring back to a simmer and season with salt--be careful if you used commercial chicken stock!!!--and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls or tureen and finish soup with some creme fraiche (or cream or sour cream) swirled all pretty-like to the tune of about 1T per bowl and a sprinkling of crumbled bits of bacon and/or minced leek tops (the medium green parts, the "ashy" green parts are mostly useless) or chives.

There ya go. Stress-free, make-ahead and stunningly delicious. Good for ya, too.


P.S. You can use scallions or shallots in place of the onions and SHARPLY seasoned, homemade croutons are also good. (Croutons in the box -- shudder! -- are best left there.)