Thursday, May 26, 2011

Recipes Part 9: Carrot Top Soup

I’ve been hurriedly trying to sample all the excellent produce that is cropping up (no pun intended) in North Carolina farmers markets. Tomatoes, Spring greens, strawberries, blueberries, sweet onions, you name it, it’s about to come in this month or next. The most exciting veggie for me is carrots which are available in several areas right now and boy are they amazing. I have bought them from both the Lomax Incubator Farm and from Houston Farms. They vary in sweetness and in size but all are delicious.

The only problem with farmers market carrots is that they come with a lot of beautiful greenery that I feel horrible throwing away. The good news is that you can use those carrot tops to make soup. I know it’s getting warmer around most of the country but we’ve had some freak cool weather recently so this was a perfect dish to try here in Charlotte this past week. This turned out to be a great Spring soup as it is very fresh tasting because of the greens. I used carrots and garlic from Houston Farms, thyme from Fork In It, and rice from Simply Local.

A note on Simply Local: the lovely lady that sells their produce at Atherton recently told me about their rice. A small community of Hmong people has settled north of Charlotte and, when they learned little to no rice is grown in this area, they began growing their own. Simply Local now sells their rice, of which they have two or three varieties a week. Simply Local’s other items include cheese, Greek-style yogurt, juices, jams, mustards and other condiments, and, I learned on Tuesday, frozen desserts. Right now they have the most amazing strawberry ice pops made with mint and simple syrup, all from the Charlotte area. I had one for dessert after this soup last night and it was simply delicious!

Carrot Top Soup (v, <5%, LPO)
1 bunch carrots (1 ½ cups carrots chopped [3-4 carrots] and ¾ cups greens chopped)
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
4 cloves garlic, diced
6 cups water or vegetable stock
Thyme (3 tablespoons fresh or 1 tablespoon dried)
2-3 tablespoons butter
Salt & pepper, to taste

   1. Bring ¾ cup water/stock to boil and add rice. Cook until rice is just tender 
      and set aside.
   2. Melt butter in soup pot and add carrots, greens and garlic. Simmer for 5-10 

   3. Add remaining water/stock and time. Bring to boil them simmer for 10-15 or 
      until carrots get a little tender.
   4. Add rice and turn down heat. Cook until rice and carrots are desired 
      tenderness and heated through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Easy, healthy and delicious!
Quick tip: A week or two ago, I used Windy Hill Farm’s ground pork for a Bolognese sauce. The meat is not high in fat but a far amount of liquid cooks off. I drained the liquid into a mug and stuck it in the fridge. It cooled and congealed and I have been using a spoonful in place of butter or olive oil in many recipes. It adds a hearty flavor without being highly processed like butter.

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