Sunday, November 01, 2009

Guest Post: Halloween Soup

Editor's Note: While I was handing out cider and donuts at a children's Halloween parade on Saturday, Wright took over the kitchen and made this Halloween Soup. He even decided to take pictures during the process and write a guest post about it...I guess sometimes boyfriends get jealous of their girlfriends' blogs! -- Calvine

A Halloween inspired soup with seasonal ingredients and extra garlic (it is vampire season after all)

5 large “fatty” carrots – cut into fries
1 celeriac root – cut into fries
1 potato – diced
2 yellow onions – diced
1 bulb of garlic – preferably from keith’s farm
2 cups fresh chicken stock
Crème fraiche – a few dollops for each bowl
1 bunch of lovage (herb)
Olive oil, salt and pepper, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper
Splash of Armagnac (optional)

Roasting tray
Emulsion blender

French baguette – toasted

Start by procuring your ingredients from the Union Square greenmarket. The “fatty” carrots, celeriac root, lovage and garlic are all from Keith’s farm, which has the best garlic on the planet. For a nice touch, use fresh chicken stock versus store bought. Hopefully you have a girlfriend who prepares fresh chicken stock on a regular basis.

Begin making the soup by decapitating (continuing with the Halloween theme) the carrots. No need to peel the carrots, just make sure you wash off all the dirt. Next, you need to clean the celeriac.
Use a knife to cut off all the unruly roots, and then grab your peeler to shave it down to a smooth orb. Here is the clean-cut version.

Cut both the carrots and celeriac into fries, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper, and put onto a roasting tray. Throw this in the oven for about 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Roasting the veggies will help caramelize the outside and bring a really deep flavor to the soup.

While you’re waiting, you can dice your onions, crush your garlic and begin to heat up some olive oil in the pot. Sweat your onions and garlic for about 5-7 minutes on medium. Make sure not to burn either, or you may as well start over. While they are sweating, peel and dice your potato. The potato won’t add too much flavor, but will help thicken the soup.

When the carrots and celeriac are done, you can let them rest, or add them to the pot if you are ready.

Once you have the onion and garlic sweating (slightly translucent), add the potato, carrots, and celeriac. Let them sauté for about 5-10 minutes before adding the chicken stock. After adding the chicken stock, you want to bring the pot to a simmer (less than a boil, but still bubbling) and let it meld for about 20 minutes. This is when you should add the lovage (herb) and spices – cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne pepper. There’s no correct amount. It all depends on what you like.

Also splash in some Armagnac. This is an apple liquor, but the biggest benefit is having alcohol break up some of the flavors in the caramelized carrots and celeriac.

In the meantime, toast your baguette rounds. These are clutch for a good soup and the only way I feel full from basically a liquid meal.

When your soup is ready, grab your emulsion blender and start blending. By the time it’s nice and smooth it’s ready to be served. Spoon into a bowl, add a couple of dollops of crème fraishe and enjoy.

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