root vegetable

Weeknight supper: curried sweet potato soup

Here we have yet another highly successful recipe from the fantastic Toronto Star CookbookThe author, Jennifer Bain, promises in the introduction to this recipe that it will be creamy, yet there isn’t a single drop of cream (or milk for that matter) in this soup. Let me tell you: she is right. I don’t know how, but this is the most velvety, creamy soup, and it is completely dairy free! It is amazing! It is definitely going to be my go-to root vegetable soup from now on.  The recipe is incredibly simple, but the results are wonderful.

Curried sweet potato soup - serves 4
From the Toronto Star Cookbook 

Ingredients

- 1 tbsp vegetable oil

- 1 cup finely chopped red onion

- 1 large clove of garlic, minced

- 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

- 3 cups chicken broth, homemade or store-bought, plus more if needed

- 1 tsp liquid honey

- ½ tsp curry powder

- ½ tsp ground ginger

Directions

In a large soup/stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until softened, stirring often (about 5 minutes).

Add the sweet potatoes, 3 cups broth, curry powder, ginger and honey.  Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the sweet potatoes are tender, 3 to 40 minutes.

To blend, you can either transfer the mixture to a blender in batches or use a hand-held immersion blender (I used an immersion blender).  Puree until completely smooth.

Return to the pot to keep warm for serving.  If the soup is too thick for your taste, add a bit more stock until the desired consistency is reached (mine was great as it was).

Serve with cornbread if you like!

C H A N T E N A Y   C A R R O T

The Chantenay carrot is a revived variety that was once popular in the 1950’s. It is a tapered carrot that can come in several colors including white and purple. They are a short, stocky, sweet variety.

Carrots are a root vegetable and are close relatives of parsnips and parsley. 

H E A L T H   B E N E F I T S

Carrots are known for their orange color, which they get from beta carotene, an organic pigment compound which the body metabolizes into Vitamin A when exposed to the bile salts present in the intestines. A single carrot contains enough beta carotene to form an entire day’s supply of Vitamin A, which makes it an essential food for cancer protection as well as for eyes, skin, and the respiratory system. Carrots are also rich in dietary fiber.

Carrots have been used to treat digestive problems, intestinal parasites, tonsillitis and constipation.

H I S T O R Y

The wild ancestors of the carrot likely came from the area that is now Afghanistan. They were introduced to Europe in the 8th century. The carrot of today came from the Netherlands in the 15th century.

Carrots were originally grown for their leaves and seeds for use as herbs.

S E L E C T I O N  &  S T O R I N G

Carrots store best at just above freezing temperatures with high humidity. Carrots will keep for a week in a “breathable” plastic bag or in a container of water in the fridge but for longer term storage a root cellar is best. They also store well frozen.

P R E P   T I P S

Carrots can be eaten raw, grated into salads, blended into carrot juice, made into jam, cooked as a vegetable, put in soups and stews or pickled. Their green tops are edible and can be used for smoothies or added to salads.

R E C I P E S

Chervil Chantenay Carrots • Creamy Vegan Carrot Soup with Coconut Milk • Gingered Carrot Soup • Chantenay Carrots Glazed With Butter • Honey-Roast Carrots • Vichy Carrots • Sticky Chantenay Carrots and Parsnips • Tenderstem, Chantenay Carrot And Brussel Saute • Chantenay Carrots With Tarragon and Wine • Chioggia Beet & Chantenay Carrot Salad • Lamb Casserole With Shallots & Chantenay Carrots

Rutabaga Caponata

2 small rutabagas, peeled and cut into ½" dice

5 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons currants
1 tablespoon golden raisins
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon grated bittersweet chocolate or cocoa powder

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Toss the rutabaga with 2 tablespoons of the oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bake, turning once, for 30 minutes or until the rutabaga is tender but still somewhat firm. Set aside.

3. In a large pan over medium heat, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is translucent, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic, shallots, currants and raisins, stirring to mix.

4. Add the balsamic vinegar, scraping the pan to deglaze it and incorporate the addition. Add the roasted rutabaga, pine nuts, red pepper flakes, sugar to taste, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate or cocoa powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature with grilled bread brushed with olive oil, if you like.