Sunday, February 7, 2010

Soup's On!

Its freezing outside! The perfect weather for a warm bowl of soup. I've made 2 delicious pots of soup in the past couple weeks, and both happen to be orange. The first was my Cleaned-up version of potato-leek soup. It starts with lots of sliced leeks.

But instead of potatoes, I used red-skinned yams, which are more nutrient-packed than white potatoes. They're high in vitamin C and B6 and have a lower glycemic index than white potatoes. Despite frequent mis-labeling, yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing, but they can be used interchangeably in this recipe.

Yam and Leek Soup
3 large leeks, whites and light-green parts halved, thinly sliced and washed well, dark green parts halved, cut into 2" pieces and washed well
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 Tbls unsalted butter
1/2 cup white wine
2 lbs red-skinned yams, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

  • Combine vegetable broth, water and dark green parts of leeks in a large pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain broth into a large bowl and discard dark green leeks.
  • Wipe out pot, add butter and heat over medium heat. When butter starts to foam, add leeks and stir to coat with butter. Cook for 2-3 minutes until leeks are slightly softened, then add white wine and 2 more minutes until most of the liquid has cooked off. Cover and cook until leeks are softened, about 5 more minutes.
  • Add reserved broth back to pot with yams, bay leaf and thyme. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, until yams are very soft. Remove bay leaf and thyme and discard. Working in batches, puree soup in blender or puree in put with immersion blender. Return soup to pot, stir in cream (if using) and heat until very warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Last weekend we had a little family wedding celebration at my parent's house. We invited Derek's parents and his brothers and their families over for a delicious lunch of paninis and soup. We broke out the panini maker I got as a shower gift, which I think has now been permanently adopted by my father. He made cubans and reubens and I made some brie and pear paninis. We also had a crab and broccoli bisque, chicken gumbo, white bean soup and I contributed with a roasted tomato soup. Roasting tomatoes is a delicious way to bring out flavor and sweetness from the usually hard and mealy tomatoes you get in the grocery store this time of year. But I bet this soup would be even better with tasty summer tomatoes. I also added some roasted red peppers. This recipe has cream, but you could definitely do without it for a healthier vegan version.

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
4 pounds tomatoes, cored and quartered
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and quartered
1 large sweet onion, peeled and quartered
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
salt & pepper
3 cups light vegetable broth or water
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup heavy cream

  • Preheat oven to 375ยบ
  • Line 2 large baking pans with foil or parchment
  • arrange tomatoes, skin sides down on one pan and peppers and onions on another. Cover both with a good glug of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add garlic to pans.
  • Roast until tomatoes start to collapse and onions and browned and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Check garlic about 15 minutes in and remove from pan once softened.
  • Peel garlic and add to blender with vegetables, working in batches. Puree until mostly smooth, with some chunks still. Add to large saucepan over medium heat. Add vegetables broth or water until desired consistency is reached, add paprika and season with salt and pepper. Heat until simmering, then stir in cream. Serve and enjoy.

My mother topped the celebration off with a beautiful chocolate raspberry wedding cake she made and our families got to see us officially cut the cake!

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