When life hands you carrots…or something like that…make carrot soup! The wicked warm weather in the northeast is finally waning and frankly I can’t wait to embrace the season with soup. A bowl of hearty, flavorful and colorful is soup is a great way to kick start autumn.
But, I’m going to back up a bit.
Two days ago, I was cleaning up the garden (and sweating in the 80+ temps!) and was happily surprised to find five of these bad boys lounging in their terrestrial haven :
I ate one (hence the four in the pic) and it was crisp, earthy and perfectly delicious! This haul weighed in at a whopping 2 pounds and I wanted to create something special with them that would highlight their autumn essence. Last year, I made a potato leek soup (< feel free to check it out:) and was thinking…why not a carrot leek version? My favorite carrot is roasted and a quick google search revealed that roasted leeks are apparently scrumptious as well. I know that roasted tomatoes make a more flavorful sauce and I was hoping this principle would apply here, too.
Why roast instead of steam or boil?
Roast, steam, bake or boil, veggies in a pureed vegetable soup must be cooked. Roasting is easy. Roasting brings out a sweetness to both the carrots and leeks. Roasting even makes some nutrients more bioavailable. Isn’t that a great word? Say “bioavailable” and people will really think you are a Smarty McSmarterson. Bioavailable, as the name suggests, simply means how available a nutrient is for the body’s use. We all know that carrots have carotene which our bodies use to make vitamin A (think vision and immune support). Well, cooking carrots releases more carotene and roasting makes even more of this nutrient available than boiling. Plus, roasting causes the sugars in the carrots (and leeks) to caramelize and impart a nutty sweet flavor to the vegetables (and later, the soup).
Why add leeks (and why can’t they have a better name)?
Leeks, leeks they’re good for your heart…;) They actually are. Leeks -part of the esteemed Allium family (like garlic and onions, too) have lots of B-folate and the flavinoid kaempferol, both of which protect our blood vessels from damage. The word leek is actually derived from the middle age word leac-garth which means vegetable patch. The name alone shows how important leeks were at that time. Even going further back, leeks were a favorite of Nero, who apparently ate them and claimed they made his voice stronger. Click here if you want even more cocktail party chit chat. You’re welcome!
Leeks are also dee-licious and the aroma of these babies roasting is dee-lightful! They impart a wonderful sweetness and complexity to this simple soup.
Super easy and (practically) oil free roasting
This killer roasted carrot and leek soup takes about ten minutes longer to make than the roasting time of the veggies. Again, I am emphasizing the “no need for oil” as ALL oils have been shown have been shown to cause a constant and significant decrease in function of blood vessels. Click here for a terrific explanation about the effects of oil on the body by Michael Greger, www.nutritionfacts.org.
Perfect roasting tips:
- High heat: I roasted at 425 F.
- Size matters- I roughly cut veggie pieces to equal sizes, allowing browning and softening at same rate
- Real estate- overcrowding the veggies will steam them- I used two pans so each carrot cut and leek had his (or her) own space
Putting it all together
While the veggies are roasting, warm your vegetable broth in a stock pot, and add the grated ginger, turmeric and tomato past.e When the veggies are done, carefully dump them in the stock pot.
Carefully blend with a stick blender or, puree in batches in a food processor or blender. That’s it! In a few minutes you will have a creamy flavorful killer roasted carrot leek soup.