Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The first soup of fall is a highly anticipated event at my house - at least by me. I’m not certain that anyone else even notices that rich, warm soups have been missing from the menu for months.
For Southern California residents like myself, it takes a certain finesse to know when the time is right for that first soup. Though the first official day of fall was September 22, the ninety degree weather we were experiencing at the time certainly was not conducive to soup. Here are a few signs I look for to help me figure out if it’s time: the last tomato has been pulled from the vines in the backyard; rather than gazpacho, I start to crave something warm and substantial; and the idea of turning the oven on for a few hours sounds comforting rather than torturous.
That time arrived on a recent Sunday when temperatures finally dipped below seventy and a low-lying Pacific fog that rolled in off the coast made me want to stay inside and hunker down with something nourishing. I was holding on to a recipe for Maple Carrot Soup from Delicious Magazine for just that kind of day. This soup is delicious, hearty and nourishing – all of the things one might want in a great fall soup. Just be sure to have it as an appetizer as it is surprisingly filling in large portions.
Of course, since I made this soup, temperatures in Los Angeles have returned to the eighties and I broke a sweat yesterday just walking to lunch. I hear that more cool weather is just around the corner and for once, I couldn’t be happier - perhaps the result of a recent trip to New York that forced me to bundle up in jackets and scarves as temperatures dropped into the…wait for it… fifties…gasp(!)… Surprisingly, this California girl loved it and is now ready for fall with scarves and rain boots in hand and on foot.
Maple Carrot Soup
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
Serves 6 - 8
2 pounds carrots, cleaned
2 onions, diced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 T olive oil + more if needed
4 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Crème fraiche to serve
Preheat oven to 350*
Slice the carrots about 1/4-inch think. A mandolin will make quick work of this. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Toss the carrots and onions with the ginger, garlic, maple syrup and olive oil and place on the baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring and turning once or twice during cooking. If the carrots look like they are drying out, add more olive oil a tablespoon at a time. When the carrots and onions begin to soften, transfer them to a large pot with all of the juices from the baking sheet and add the chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes until the carrots are completely soft. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot, adding more water or stock as necessary to thin it out. Serve appetizer portions with a dollop of crème fraiche, maple syrup and snipped chives.