Sunday, March 17, 2013

carrot tahini soup

carrot tahini soupThis is my Saturday night version of a pantry meal, and I created it all myself! No recipe, no trip to the grocery store, just seeing what I had in the kitchen and going for it. Going to the grocery store is something that I do far too often. I am no good at deciding the week’s meals ahead of time (spontaneity is much more fun you know) and planning accordingly making only a weekly trip to the store necessary. No. I go everyday that I cook because inevitably I don’t have that one ingredient (or all the ingredients) I need to make what I just decided was for dinner that night. There is something exciting and nostalgic about shopping for ingredients right when you are about to use them. I can imagine myself at an open air market picking through today’s fresh produce and returning home with still warm bread and veggie just out of the ground. Maybe there is a violinist playing some sad French sounding song in the street creating the perfect scene (cue spotlight stage left on said violinist). Unfortunately, this is not (usually) my reality. This wasn’t so bad when I lived more in town and would ride my cruiser to the store and load up the handlebar basket and bike home. But now that I drive to the store, it is no longer so sustainable to start the car and make a special trip for just a few items. So with this meal I decided to be creative and use what I had.carrots and carrot peelsI was also pretty proud of myself for putting together this new (for me) combination of flavors. It’s one thing to make chicken noodle soup without a recipe but an entirely different animal to put together something new without a recipe. And even better, it tasted good…ish. Or at least it would have been really good if it weren’t for the excessive red pepper flakes making this porridge too hot. Cut the spice in half and I think it would have been a great success.chopped carrots and potatoesThis picture is of the carrots and potatoes I used as the base of this soup. Two things here: first, I got the idea of using a little potato in puréed soups from Heidi Swanson. It adds creaminess without adding actual cream. Second, how the hell do you dice a carrot? I tried and decided it would take me hours to make this soup if I continued. So discs they remained.shallotsCARROT TAHINI SOUP WITH SALTED LEMON YOGURT

For the soup:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced into discs
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
3 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. ginger (I used ground but would have liked fresh, in which case you could use more if you like)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (I used 1/2 tsp. and it was way too much!)
1/4 cup tahini
salt and pepper (I used about 3/4 tsp. salt, total)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups water
juice from 1/2 a lemon

For the garnish: (This salted lemon yogurt is also Heidi Swanson’s from a farro and black lentil soup that I’ve made.)
1 cup plain yogurt
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds, toasted

Heat olive oil in large pot. Add carrots, potatoes, shallots, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 15 minutes, letting everything soften and caramelize a bit. Add ginger, pepper flakes, and tahini. Cook a few minutes longer until everything becomes fragrant. Add liquid and a bit more salt (if you are using full sodium broth you probably will not need anymore salt). Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, until carrots and potatoes are soft but not mushy. Using either an immersion blender or a standard one, purée soup until smooth. In the meantime, mix together yogurt, lemon zest and juice, and salt. Ladle soup into a bowl and top with a dollop (or a piped swirl) of the salted lemon yogurt and a few pinches of toasted sesame seeds.carrot tahini soupTo hearty this up a bit, make up a batch of your favorite grain — rice, farro, pasta — and throw it in! That’s my plan with my too spicy version to hopefully dull the heat a bit. soup beginningstoasting sesame seedsla sopaP.S. Yay for daylight savings and more light in the evenings when I do a lot of my cooking! It makes for much nicer pictures, as seen in the cutting board pics above. Artificial light just isn’t the same.

by Kristen
Categories: soup | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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