So the holidays have come to a close and life can finally return to a relatively normal pace for our household. I like to think this means I can finally return to the blog I started a few weeks before the holidays and abruptly put on hold to get through November and December.
When trying to decide where to begin again, I started thinking about the snow that so many of us experienced this past week. Where there is snow, there are sure to be snowmen. And where there are snowmen, there are sure to be fridges with a bag full of carrots sans the one used for Frosty’s nose. In the event you are looking for a way to use up those remaining carrots, look no further as I recently encountered a fridge full of carrots and not enough snowmen in the world to use them.
On a recent trip to Costco, we took our au pair, Matilda, along for the ride so she could pick out some groceries of interest. When perusing the produce section, which is reason enough to be a Costco member, we waltzed by the 10-pound bags of carrots. See what I did there? Waltzing Matilda? Wow, I need sleep (no thanks to Alister).
Anyway, so Matilda suggests we pick up a bag of carrots as they are very common in Macedonian soups and stews from her home. I told her we could pick up things like carrots at the grocery store, because who needs 10 pounds of carrots at once? Despite my inclination to ditch the Costco carrots, I found myself suckered into the value of the bag – less than $8 for a 10-pound bag of organic carrots. Given that I am used to spending around $2-$3 for 1-2 pounds of carrots, I decided to throw it in the cart and assumed I would make carrot baby food for Alister. Well, this was the plan until I learned a couple hours later that carrots release nitrates and are therefore on the do-not-make-homemade-baby-food-list.
Well a few weeks passed and I think two or three carrots of the 10-pound bag were eaten. In carrot weight, that’s roughly 3% of the bag. Knowing that making and freezing baby food was no longer an option, I took the matter into my own hands. When
life Costco gives you lemons carrots, make lemonade enough carrot-centric dishes to turn your skin orange.
First, I prepared a quick and easy curried carrot soup, which was a perfect way to warm up just as the nights started to get a bit colder. The recipe was primarily based on the Rachael Ray version here, which aside from peeling the carrots, actually took close to the 30 minutes she claims. One of the best things about it besides the taste and the easy preparation is you probably have all the required ingredients on hand. Assuming you have 2 pounds of carrots, that is.
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds peeled carrots, cut into 2-3-inch chunks
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock or broth.
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- About 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper. Adjust if you want less or more heat. We like spice!
- Coarse sea salt
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Unless you are using baby carrots, as Rachael Ray encourages, let the peeling and chopping begin. I peeled what seemed like 20+ carrots and chopped them into 2-3 inch chunks.
Then I piled everything into my little food scale until I reached 2 pounds. Felt a little like Jenga as the pile wobbled as it grew.
Next, preheat a medium pot over medium high heat. I use either a large pasta pot or my 6-qt dutch oven. Add the olive oil, butter, onions, garlic, and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes.
Next, add 4 cups of your broth or stock, the curry powder and cayenne, and about 1 teaspoon salt to the pot. Bring everything to a boil, cover, and cook until carrots are very tender, about 15 or so minutes.
When the pot is finished cooking, you have two options for pureeing the soup: (1) the food processor or blender and (2) my personal favorite, the emulsion blender.
If you are using a food processor, process the soup in 2 or 3 small batches. Continue processing until the soup is smooth and carrots are fully pureed. Transfer the processed soup into a large bowl as you work to make room for more soup in the food processor. When all carrots have been pureed, return the completed soup to the pot and place back over low heat.
If you are using an emulsion blender like me, the process is even quicker and at least it feels like it keeps the kitchen cleaner. Just keep everything in the pot, turn the stove down to low, plug in the hand blender attachment, and blend away! Continue processing until the soup is smooth and carrots are fully pureed.
Now that your soup is smooth and the burner is on low, if the soup is too thick, begin adding the remaining stock/broth, up to 2 cups, to achieve desired consistency. Also, adjust the seasonings, particularly the cayenne if you want to turn up the heat a notch. We have also added a dash of hot sauce for extra kick, but tread lightly so it does not overpower the delicious curried carrot combo.
Finally, your soup is ready to serve! You can get fancy with swirling in sour cream or yogurt or sprinkling chives on top of each bowl. However, we kept it simple and just placed a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt on top. The soup is good on its own and does not require any toppings, but I found a little bit of yogurt helps tame the heat if, by chance, you poured a bit too much cayenne in the pot. All a hypothetical, of course.
If it is any testament to the recipe, we actually made this full recipe twice as we worked our way through our 10-pound bag. Enjoy!
Next up in Carrotapalooza – Carrot Muffins!