I think it’s safe to say that this brutally hot summer is finally over. About time, too – it’s nearly November!
At the Dupont Circle farmers market yesterday, winter squash and root vegetables ran the show. My findings included spaghetti squash, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes and leeks.
One word popped into my head – soup. I needed to make soup. Something savory, and comforting; something that said “It’s finally Fall.”
Today, I’m stuck inside my apartment because of Hurricane Sandy. It’s currently 52 degrees, cloudy and windy. It doesn’t seem too bad now, but the forecast says the worst is coming. Who knows if it actually will get worse, but during all of this Sandy insanity, I’m going to make soup. Farmers market sweet potato, carrot and leek soup.
I left the basic ingredients of the soup, sweet potatoes and carrots, relatively untouched. A hint of ginger and cinnamon, and a touch of crushed red pepper contrast the sweetness of the soup. Chicken stock adds salt. Adding lemon juice at the end (I think cooking lemon juice weakens its flavor) adds a final element of acidity to the soup.
My favorite part about this soup is the leeks. They lend a mild, earthy flavor that pairs perfectly with sweet potatoes and carrots in the soup. I don’t think the sharp flavor of onions would have worked nearly as well.
In my opinion, leeks are not used enough in home cooking. They require a little more effort than onions, but the result is worth it. Leeks often have grit, so it’s important to rinse them with water beforehand. I always slice off the top, dark green part, as the flavor comes from the white part of the stem. You can separate the leek stem into segments, halve them, and then slice them thinly. Easy, right?
Okay, enough about leeks. Let’s cook.
Farmers Market Sweet Potato, Carrot and Leek Soup
(Makes at least 3-4 medium-sized bowls of soup)
- 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
- 6 medium-sized carrots
- 3 large leeks
- Chicken stock
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Crushed red pepper
- Peel and roughly chop sweet potatoes and carrot into small cubes. (I think cutting the veg smaller makes them easier to chop in the blender.)
- Slice off the dark green part of the leeks, and dice the white and very light green parts. Rinse the diced leeks in water. Start in a pot with olive oil over low-medium heat. Add salt and pepper and stir until leeks have softened.
- Add sweet potatoes and carrots and stir to combine. Add dried ginger, cinnamon (don’t go crazy on this one) and crushed red pepper.
- Add chicken stock, enough to cover the vegetables completely. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to a simmer.
- When potatoes and carrots are tender, remove from heat and pour into a blender.
- Puree until smooth. Depending on the quality of your blender, this could either take a few minutes or a bit longer. The soup should have a smooth consistency without any chunks. If the soup is too thick, add stock to thin it out.
- Add lemon juice to pureed soup. Keep in mind that you might not need all of the lemon juice, so add it to taste.
- Double check for seasoning (does it need more salt?), and enjoy.