Sunday, August 9, 2009

Purple Carrot Soup with Basil-Pea Cream

Every once in a while, the people packing the CSA box seem to lose track of where they are on the packing list. A couple of boxes ago, this resulted in getting two packs of red raspberries and no red radishes. This week, it resulted in a double helping of purple carrots. Look how pretty.

I decided to use the carrots to make soup. Often times the quantity of veggies included in the box isn't enough to make soup, but with the double helping I though it would be enough.

Here's the ingredients for the soup:

2 bunch purple carrots, peeled and chopped
3/4 Walla Walla sweet onion, chopped
1-2 cups chicken stock (veggie stock would work too)
salt and pepper

I started by heating just a little olive oil in a sauce pan. To this I added my onion and let it sweat for about five minutes (sweating cooks the onion through, but doesn't color the onion at all). Once the onion was cooked, I added the carrot and then added just enough broth to cover the veggies. I let this simmer until the carrots were tender, about 10 minutes.

I blended the soup in a couple of batches until is was very smooth, then I returned it to the pan. At this point I decided the soup was a little thick, so I added more chicken broth until it was the consistency that I wanted.

While the carrot soup was simmering, I decided to make a little cream sauce to further flavor the soup. With a search through the crisper drawer I came up with some English Peas and thought that the green of the peas would contrast nicely with the purple carrot soup. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been making a Pesto Pea Soup for some of my clients, and thought that a take on this soup would be good for the cream.

Here's the ingredients for the Basil Pea Cream:

1 pound English Peas, shelled (this resulted in roughly one cup of peas)
1/4 Walla Walla sweet onion, chopped
2 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup chicken broth (again, veggie stock would work too)
a bunch of fresh basil
salt and pepper

Basically, the pea cream followed the same steps as the carrot soup, with the addition of the cream to the pan for simmering.

I added the basil to the cream when I put it in the blender.

Once the soup and the cream were both done, I ladled the carrot soup into the bowl and then spooned on a bit of the basil cream (giving it a little swirl for good measure).

How was it. Delish! Both the soup and the basil-pea cream were wonderful on their own, but together they were great. My only disappointment was that I expected the carrot soup to be purpleyer (is that a word?) but the flavor more than made up for it.

Of course the carrot soup could easily be made with orange carrots instead of purple. Or you could get really crazy and make orange carrot soup, purple carrot soup and then the green basil pea cream. That would be really striking.

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