Thursday, January 28, 2010

Carrot and cheddar soup

I love puréed soups. The texture is so satisfying, and they're foolproof -- you don't have to worry about how any of the components look after they're cooked, because they're just going to get ground to a pulp!

Basically, any puréed soup is made the same way. I always like to start with some onions (doesn't matter how you cut them, since they're going to get pulverized, so I just slice the onion into about 1-inch slices and then quarter the slices), which I brown in a stock pot with a little bit of olive oil (not too much, you don't want greasy soup). Once they're brown, I take any pre-made stock (usually chicken but anything works; I think I used beef stock on this one) and add 6 cups or so (depends how much soup you want). For this beautiful treasure, put in a whole bunch of chopped carrots (maybe 2 pounds), a couple of cut up potatoes, and set the whole thing to simmer until the carrots and potatoes are very tender.

The next step is easiest if you have an immersion blender, but you can also use a regular blender or food processor, you just have to purée the soup in batches rather than all at once. So yeah. Just blend the whole thing until it's smooth. Once the blending is done, add a couple of handfuls of grated sharp cheddar cheese, stir until it's well integrated, and taste your creation. Depending on what kind of stock you used, it may or may not be salty enough. These kinds of soups need a lot of salt to taste good, so don't be afraid to be generous. But be careful. You can always add more salt at the table -- you can't take it away.

Once the soup is blended and cheesed to taste, I like to finish it with a little bit of heavy cream (maybe 1 cup, but it depends on how much you have).

How easy was that?

Local, naturally grown carrots and potatoes are easy to find in Quebec year-round, as is stock (you can usually find it premade at any of the butchers at the public markets, or you can chicken carcasses for about $2 and make your own). Quebec makes excellent Cheddar, too, so this is a perfect dish to showcase what amazing things can be made from some of our simplest local ingredients.

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