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.

-J.

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.)