Yesterday was overcast, but was surprisingly warm. The Manchild was getting antsy, and running from one end of our little house to the other like a madman. This is usually the case by late afternoon, so I threw him in the stroller we headed to the park. I want to hang on to these not-too-cold Fall days as long as possible. Winter will show it's beastly wrath soon enough here in the valley.
My little guy has a hard time leaving the park without throwing a fit (no matter how long we've stayed there), so this time I had us collect leaves on the way back to distract him. It worked, thank heavens, and left us with a perfect background to one of my favorite soups I've ever made.
I thought I'd get an eyebrow raise or two over this recipe with Ryan. Again, no pile of meat swimming around in the soup... but Ryan adored this soup - and made up some grilled cheese late last night along with his second helping! What is happening to my husband?! He must be coming down with something. This soup is very easy to prepare: just chop, boil, puree, stir. My favorite part was using nutmeg and cinnamon - it changed my life, I tell you.
Anyway, Ryan did say that I must share my crusty bread recipe when I present this soup on here. ''It's a must'' he insisted. The soup has no garlic in it, so serving the soup with my crunchy bread adds something truly special to each bite. I've been making what we've called "crusty bread" since before we were dating. It's very simple, very subtle, but has permanently become one of the standard recipes in my kitchen. It's not saturated in butter/garlic/oil, but carries enough of a punch to get the message across. I use this recipe all the time because it's infused with garlic flavor without having to mince the garlic, or use a nasty powder. After the french bread (drizzled with EVOO) comes out from the broiler, you just rub garlic (cut side down) on the rough surface of the bread. The oil from the garlic seeps right into the bread. That's where the magic is.
Next time we make this, I think I'll top each soup bowl with about 1/4 cup of cooked orzo.
Creamy Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup
3 T butter, divided
1 C chopped onion
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
4 3/4 C cubed, peeled, sweet potatoes
3 1/2 C water
3 C fat free, low-sodium chicken broth
3 C chopped carrot
1/4 C half-and-half
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/3 C reduced-fat sour cream
2 T parsley
1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion to the pan, cook for 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Move onion mixture to side of pan and add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to open space in pan. Increase heat to medium high and cook 1 minute (until butter barely begins to turn brown - but not burn).
3. Add sweet potatoes, water, broth, and carrot. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minute or until veggies are tender.
4. Place half soup mixture in a blender (do not seal, or the lid will pop off - I usually remove center lid piece off the blender, and cover with a towel). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and repeat with remaining soup mixture.
5. Stir in half and half, salt, and pepper. Top with a little sour cream and serve with *crunchy garlic bread.
(I made the little dots on the soup surface with drops of half and half)
Recipe source: Cooking Light
*Crunchy Garlic Bread
1 fresh loaf of french bread
1 clove of garlic, outer layer removed and sliced in halfwise (two fat pieces, not two long pieces)
1. Preheat oven broiler. Put an oven rack near the top of oven.
2. Slice bread into 1/2 inch pieces at a diagonal.
3. Arrange slices of french bread right on a cookie sheet.
4. Drizzle bread with olive oil (not too much, just a light drizzle).
5. Broil until brown and crispy. Remove pan from oven immediately.
6. With the raw piece of garlic, rub the crispy face of the bread with cut-side down garlic (the oils will seep right into the bread). This only works if the bread is toasted - the rough edge of the bread draws out the garlic.
Recipe: Baking with Blondie original