Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Carrot Top Soup

The difference between going to the market early and going late is coming home with these beauties:

Versus resigning yourself to these suspiciously cheezy-poof-looking fakers:

I think they are dragon carrots.  Whatever they are, if you find them, don't peel them!  Just wash them well and cut them up.  Their taste is pure sweetness, with no woody aftertaste.

This is what they look like on the inside:

It's a glorious time for eating.

Anyway, while I was at the market volunteering last Saturday I got to chat with carrot purveyor Keith Forrester of Whitton Farms during his (very very few) slow moments.  Having already squirreled away my two bunches of carrots, I asked him if the tops were edible.  He shrugged, and in the dry way he has he replied that he was sure some people did, but his tone of voice indicated that those people were probably maybe embracing the local-food thing a little too zealously.  Had drunk the wheat grass, if you will.

Enter Deborah Madison.  See Deborah corroborate Keith's implication.  See Diana's curiosity get the better of her anyway.

Carrot Top Soup
From Local Flavors by Deborah Madison

1 bunch (6 small to medium) carrots, the tops and the roots
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons rice
2 large leeks, white parts only (I used an onion)
2 thyme or lemon thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons chopped dill, parsley, celery leaves, or lovage
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups vegetable stock, light chicken stock, or water (I used 4 cups chicken stock cut with 2 cups water)

Pull or pluck the leaves of the carrot greens off their stems.  You should have between 2 and 3 loosely-packed cups.  Wash, them chop finely.  

Grate or finely chop the carrots as well.

Melt the butter in a soup pot.  Add the carrot tops and carrots, rice, leeks, thyme, and dill.  Cook for several minutes, turning everything a few times, then season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and add the stock.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the rice is cooked, 16 to 18 minutes.

Taste for salt, season with pepper and serve---definitely with crusty bread!  Here's mine with fresh baguette from Cafe Eclectic.

This isn't the most mindblowing thing I've ever made, but it was simple and hearty, and I surprised myself when I found myself craving a bowl when I got home from work yesterday.  Luckily, like with all soups, it tasted even better the next day.

Other easy things to do with carrots:

Pretty, quick stir-fry.

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