Saturday, April 16, 2011

Carrot Soup with Ginger & Caraway

This week my cooking was inspired by a Food&Wine 'what to cook next' article. What caught my eye was a recipe for pressure cooker pork carnitas which promised tender pork shoulder in 35 minutes. I happened to have had just such a shoulder roast in my freezer.

On Tuesday I shared the carnitas dinner with my dad and family. Everyone was impressed with the tenderness of the pork in such little time. Magical Pressure Cooker indeed!

Later in the week I re-read the Food&Wine article concentrating more on the subject of the article: Nathan Myhrvold the author of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. And then my eye caught the carmelized carrot soup recipe.

Last weekend at the Mar Vista Farmer's Market we bought a bounty of produce that really needed to be used and soon! My refrigerator was bursting with:
• Tiny White Potatoes
• Huge Parsnips
• Heirloom Carrots
• Hearty Asparagus Spears
• Blood Oranges
But I wanted to use up the wilting fennel bulb and lonely single leek both lurking at the bottom of my produce drawer. They were begging for soup. Using the article as a guideline I created my own recipe:

Pressure Cooker
Carrot Soup with Ginger & Carraway
Six First Course Servings
5 Tablespoons Butter
1 lb. Heirloom variety carrots*
1 small fennel bulb
1 leek
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda** optional
2 Cups Carrot Juice
2 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
Peel the carrots and cut into ¾” slices. Trim the fennel bulb removing any wilted edges and removing the tough core. Slice into ¾” pieces. Use only the white and light green of the leek. Slice lengthwise and then into ¾” slices. Put the carrots, fennel & leek into the pressure cooker.
Add the butter cut into chunks. Cook uncovered until the butter melts. Mix well. Add the salt & baking soda if using. Cover and bring to 15 psi using your pressure cooker’s manufacturer’s instructions. Cook for 10 minutes at 15 psi. Cool quickly in your sink using cool water.

Return the uncovered pressure cooker to the stove. Add the carrot juice, ginger & caraway seeds. Stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer. Cook for an additional 5 minutes on low heat. Taste for salt.
Puree and strain the soup using either a blender or submersion blender & then a food mill or cheesecloth & metal strainer.
Serve hot.

*Heirloom Carrots I used a variety of carrots using up what I had as well as adding a few heirlooms for color. Note that some heirloom carrots have a VERY fibrous core. The red variety with a bright yellow core was so fibrous my Wustof chef’s knife would not go through it. These red carrots were the true reason the soup needed to be strained! Without straining, it was inedible, chewy soup.

**Baking Soda The original recipe was for “Caramelized Carrot Soup” and the baking soda is added to speed up the caramelization. I didn’t get any caramelization in my soup, but perhaps the baking soda helps break down the vegetables quicker, so I listed it here, add if you wish.

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