Sunday, March 1, 2009

CSA week 13 - Sort-of-Spanish carrot top soup

I started with this recipe for Tuscan carrot top and rice soup, but made one change that led to another and another and eventually ended up over in Spain.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 small carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 cup diced ham
1/2 cup diced Spanish chorizo
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste

3 new potatoes, diced
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

6 cups chicken broth
1½ cups carrot tops, chopped

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-gauge soup pot. Saute the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, ham, chorizo bay leaf and thyme for 5 minutes over low medium until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the salt and pepper, potatoes, chickpeas and the thicker bits of the carrot stems. Cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the broth, and bring to a boil.

2. Cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are almost tender. Add the carrot tops, mix well, and cook for 10 minutes more. I also added an egg to poach, but that's my thing so you should just roll your eyes and move on. You might want to include tomatoes, but I find the combination of them with the smoked paprika tastes muddy. A good idea with a different sort of paprika, though.

3. If you're not going to add an egg (and if you don't want to poach, a chopped hard-cooked egg would be nice) finish off with a bit more olive oil instead. And if you left out the meat earlier, you could blend some of the solids to thicken the broth, but I figure the pork products would gum up the works so I skipped that.

The result is a respectable if not extraordinarily distinguished bowl of soup. There are no jarring discordancies of flavor, but it's not one of those refined perfect combinations either. I found that as the carrot tops cooked to a pleasant texture, their distinctive flavor faded. It seeped out to give the broth a distinct carroty note, but there's enough else contributing that you won't call it carrot soup in a blind taste test. You would probably call it tasty, though, so good enough.

That's two in a row where I've buried the CSA ingredient under a bunch of other flavors. It'll be three when I do the kale-wrapped sticky rice. I'd best put that off until later in the week then and do the Mexican whatever or the tatsoi stir-fry next.


kat said...

Now I wish I had some carrot tops!

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of cooking an eating Carrot tops but My oldest son wanted me to make a carrot top soup tryed this recipe and it was a Hit. from now on I use the Carrot's an the Tops .

Thank You for a Great Recipe


billjac said...

Pleased to be of service.