Super soup: Cream o’ carrots ‘n’ leeks

carrotleeksoup_ing.jpgWell, I didn't manage to use up all of the produce in my fridge before I left, but I made a valiant effort, even having leftover kale and a salad together in one meal. I did have to discard some arugula from the Eatwell box that I had let go too long. It's funny how much guiltier I felt throwing it away than I ever did with supermarket lettuce.

To prove that I can indeed obey mostly follow recipes, I decided to use up my remaining Eatwell carrots and leeks in a recipe for soup that came in our newsletter. I hadn't ever cooked with leeks before this year, and once again I had to consult a cookbook for how to wash and chop them — my standby, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, has a helpful illustration. As usual, I was missing a few ingredients but didn't let that faze me: I used slightly more cream than was called for since I didn't have milk, and I had no more homemade stock left, so (sorry, purists) I resorted to Better Than Bouillon's Organic Chicken stock, which is salty, but fine in a pinch.

carrotleeksoup.jpgThe soup was delicious, savory and super rich — perhaps more so thanks to the cream and the chicken stock — and full-bodied, without the over-sweetness I associate with most carrot soups. It would make a great Thanksgiving appetizer, I think, and I'll definitely be having it again. With luck the two bowls that are left over will last until we come back from Thanksgiving in Phoenix.

Which reminds me — posting may be light on the blog for the rest of the week, as many of us are away from home. (The Potato and I get to hang out with Omniho and E.I.E.I. Ho tomorrow, hurrah!)

Cream of carrot and leek soup
(From Eatwell Farm via the New Vegetarian Epicure)

1 cup chopped leek
2 large yellow onion, chopped
4 TB butter
2 lbs carrots
3 cups water
3 cups vegetable broth (I didn't have any, so I used chicken)
5 TB. Uncooked white rice
pinch sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1 small bay leaf
pinch cayenne
1 1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup cream
Dash nutmeg

Peel and thinly slice carrots. (I grated them in the food processor.) Chop most of green tops off leeks and discard; make a cut from about one inch up from the bottom through the top remaining green part, and another on the other side. Then wash carefully in between the layers. You can also just cut the bottom of the root off, chop into large pieces, and wash them in the salad spinner as they're going to get blendered anyway.

In a large, heavy saucepan sauté the leeks and onion in the butter until translucent and golden. Add carrots, water, stock, rice, sugar, salt, thyme, bay leaf, and cayenne to onions; cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until carrots and rice are completely soft.

Remove bay leaf and puree, either with handheld blender thingy or in a food processor or blender, until smooth. Stir in milk, cream, and sprinkle of nutmeg. Reheat and season to taste. Toppers: toasted bread chunks, whatever you want — I added leftover chunks of cooked bacon to it on Day Two, which was so yummy it brough tears to my pork-loving eyes.

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