Rooting through the fridge the other day, trying to determine what was going be dinner that night I came across an abundance of carrots and beets (thank you Native Offerings.)
Now, something I’ve come to learn slowly about my food preferences (because they aren’t all as quick and easy as “Pizza good, cauliflower bad”), is that I prefer raw vegetables to cooked. Now, I’m not talking about obvious things like squash or potatoes, but things like carrots, green beans or even corn. Yeah – if you’ve got good crunchy sweet corn, it’s unbelievable raw.
Despite all that, I decided to make a couple soups. We had the veggies, we had some chicken stock, and we had some plain yogurt – I figured I was all set. I mention chicken stock, but I’m sure these would have been just as good (and certainly more vegetarian if that’s important) with water.
As usual, the recipes are rough and we ain’t baking a cake here, so it doesn’t really matter.
- Take a large handful (about a pound) of carrots chopped roughly, a small onion chopped roughly and a pinch of salt and cook in a heavy sauce/soup pan over medium heat. Cook until they are starting to brown and get soft (15-20 minutes? Depends on how big your carrot chunks are)
- Throw in a clove of garlic and a fingertip-sized piece of ginger. I say fingertip sized, because whenever I’m chopping veggies I have this visualization of the end of one of my fingers becoming separated from my body. It’s going to happen sooner or later, I’ve come to accept that.
- Cover with chicken/vegetable stock or water (2-3 cups total) – I went about an inch higher than the carrots. Bring to boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook until the carrots are completely soft.
- When it’s all nice and mushy, put it in your blender – i think you really need a blender here to get it smooth (food processor might not do the trick) – the soup had lost enough liquid to get pretty thick, so I added probably another 1/2-3/4 C of water at this point.
- Blend until smooth. Add several big spoons of whole milk yogurt (1/2 C?) – or even some, gasp, heavy cream. Look at it this way – what’s worse, eating no veggies at all or making them taste really good at the expense of a little added
- Put back on the stove, and heat it back up gently – add salt/pepper, some herbs or whatever else you want at this point – if you want more of a ginger kick, you could add some freshly grated stuff now.
I put a couple fried sage leaves on top (herb garden, still standing, full of sage), and that’s about as fancy as you’ll see this blog get.
Let’s be honest with each other – I really don’t like beets all that much (gasp again!) Well I don’t – Tina and Molly are the requisite beet eaters in the family and they both liked the soup, so that was enough for me. The preparation is very similar to the carrot soup above.
- Take 5-6 medium beets, put in a microwave safe bowl, add a little water, cover and microwave until tender. Really, you could roast them, steam them, whatever – the microwave was easiest at this point.
- Meanwhile, sauté a finely chopped small onion in oil with some salt until soft.
- Skin the beats without causing 3rd degree burns. The easiest way I’ve found is to rub them in a paper towel – it pulls the skin off (the beet’s, not yours), gives you a little insulation, and doesn’t totally leave your hands looking like you belong at a crime scene.
- Chop them up fairly well, add to the onions, add a clove of garlic, cover with water and cook until the beet pieces are very soft.
- Again, into the blender, add some yogurt/cream and about half a lemon’s worth of juice. Blend and bring back to the stove to reheat and reseason.
Finally, the carrots at the top (and below) are not actually the ones that went into the soup. They are the ones that were trying desperately to grow in our garden, only to find themselves in the overwhelming shade of the oppressive tomatoes. I finally pulled them up, after pushing the dying tomato jungle out of the way – the biggest is about a inch long. Trying peeling one of these buggers. Not fun, but damn, they taste good.