Sitting in the Emergency Room, waiting for the doctor to tell me what was wrong (two broken toes in my right foot and a grade 3 sprain in my left ankle) I had visions of this soup dancing in my head. When I discovered that this was the contest for the week, I decided that it was fate and I had to submit my recipe.
But this recipe is not really about carrots. Kind readers, if you will bear with me I will tell you a tale about a man … a man who works 60+ hours a week trying to convince Congress that the DoD doesn’t really need all that money. I man with a quick, smart humor and a quiet grace that hasn’t been dulled by the evil back-stabbers here in Washington. A man, who, on the eve of his 30th birthday and with a major report due, spent the evening standing in a corner of the kitchen, gentle and patient, while his girlfriend murmured commands through a profanity-laced stream of complaints about crutches.
This recipe is about my boyfriend, who right now, deserves credit for being The Most Wonderful Boyfriend in the World. That he can put up with my present mood and condition, that he can be so supportive, is surely a sign that he is a Saint.
And this recipe will stand as a testament to that.
fennel bulbs, fronds removed, quartered (Reserve a few of the fronds for garnish.)
pound carrots, peeled and quartered
apple, quartered (I used a Fiji because that’s what I had.)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a rimed baking sheet with foil.
Spread the first six ingredients on the baking sheet and toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Unless, of course, it is an ordeal for you to maneuver a hot roasting pan while holding yourself up in crutches. If so, just let them roast and hope the people on Food52 won’t notice the few black flecks in the picture that are where the onions … err … caramelized.
Set a large stockpot over medium heat and warm a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Add the next three ingredients (which I took to referring to as a “notpoix”) and stir to coat. Add a pinch or two of salt, give them another good stir, put a lid on, lower the heat a little and let them soften.
When the onions, celery and garlic are nearly translucent push them to the side pot and add the tomato paste, letting it carmalize for a few minutes. Stir it into the veggies.
Add the coriander, cumin and as much cayenne as your taste desires (I like this a little spicier so I add about 1/8 tsp.) and stir to blend and coat.
You should be ready to pull the roasting vegetables out of the oven now. Give your boyfriend a pathetic look and burst into tears when he gets up to remove them from the oven, stopping to kiss your forehead and remind you that you will be well again soon. Thank the Universe that he is with you. Scowl at your feet.
Set the roasted vegetables aside while you add the chicken stock to the stockpot. Bring it just to a boil and turn off the heat.
Put some of the roasted vegetables (a large fistful sized amount) in a food processor or blender and add about cup of the stock and “notpoix.” Blend until smooth. Pour into yet another stockpot (Thank the Universe for your wonderful boyfriend again.) and set aside.
Repeat this process until all of the vegetables and stock are blended. If you feel like you need more liquid, add a little water to compensate.
Heat the puree over medium-low heat until warmed through, maybe 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the heavy cream, stirring to blend.
Serve, garnishing with some chopped fennel fronds.
Burst into tears again when your amazing boyfriend pronounces it a success, and selflessly cleans up the kitchen while refilling your cups of tea and telling silly jokes to make you laugh. Continue to scowl at your feet.
Someone once said, "the wise man knows that he knows nothing at all." Therefore if I spend my days seeking knowledge than I am simply trying to be a better fool. Hopefully I will eat well along the way.