Sunday, November 11, 2007

Farmers Market Soup

All the vegetables showcased in this soup were locally, organically grown and bought at yesterday's farmers market: Carrots, celeriac, red bell peppers, cipollini onions, garlic and mushrooms. We served this to two weary travelers who arrived from the rainy Northwest craving a warm, hearty soup. Now how did I know that?

To bring out the sweet goodness of the vegetables, they were first sautéed to a golden brown then added to the hot stock. Hot steamed rice and grated Midnight Moon aged goat cheese from our local Cypress Grove Chevre were offered along side as additions to the soup as each person desired. Crusty Brio Whole Wheat Walnut bread rounded out our mostly locally-sourced meal.

Farmers Market Soup
Christine's original recipe
Ingredients:
2 quarts vegetable stock, preferrably homemade
2 cipollini onions, peeled and cut into small dice
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 large celeriac bulb, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut as above
3 portobello mushrooms, gills removed, sliced then cut as above
1 bay leaf, fresh if you have it, dried if you don't
2 teaspoons freshly dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Preparation:
Begin by putting the vegetable stock in a large stock pot with the bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a simmer over medium heat while you prep the veggies.
Place a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of good olive oil.
When the skillet is hot, reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes until they've softened.
Add the carrots and continue to sauté until they are just barely tender, taking care that the onions don't burn.
Scrape all this into the pot of vegetable stock and add a bit more oil to the skillet.
Sauté the garlic and the celeriac next. Don't let the garlic burn. When the celeriac has reach a golden brown, add the mushrooms and sauté a few minutes more until the mushrooms are tender. Place all of this into the stock pot.
Next, sauté the bell peppers in the pan with a little more oil if needed and add them to the soup.
If you happen to have a glass of white wine on hand you can deglaze the skillet at this point, scraping up all the delicious browned bits then adding it all to the soup pot.
If you don't have a glass of white wine on hand, don't whine. Just ladle a bit of the stock out of the soup pot into the skillet and proceed.
Let your soup simmer until all the veggies are tender and you're done.

To serve, fish out the bay leaf, line up the steamed rice, the grated cheese, the soup pot, serving utensils, bowls and soup spoons and let your guests dish up to their heart's content. A basket of crusty artisan bread at the table will be appreciated. A glass of deep red wine can't hurt.



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