Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I made carrot soup and gruyere biscuits!

I wrote about soup and biscuits for my last post, but these are different (and equally good) soup and biscuits and deserve their equal share of attention and praise. Carrots are kind of a second tier vegetable – I wouldn't usually pick them out of a line up, but every once in a while they are EXACTLY what I want. They keep really well in the fridge, which is also a plus, especially with a recipe that calls for over a pound of them. The soup is from 101 cookbooks; it's the simplest carrot soup recipe I've come across and I like it the best. The biscuit recipe is Ina Garten's. The recipe calls for cheddar cheese but I couldn't find any in the fridge (*someone* left it in one of the Coop bags when unpacking the groceries) so I used gruyere. These are flaky and flavorful biscuits; they are also rectangular, so prepare yourself. I recommend having the extras the next morning with a scrambled egg. Enjoy!

Carrot Soup (serves 4) (maybe with other dishes)

1 1/4 pounds carrots
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or clarified butter)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cups+ vegetable stock or water (I used 2 cups stock/2 cups water – added an extra cup)
juice of 1/2 a lemon (I like a little more lemon, but taste and see what you like)
fine grain sea salt (as much as you need) (yeah, kosher salt)

Scrub the carrots and cut into 1 inch chunks. Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes until onions are translucent. Add the stock and carrots and bring to a gentle boil. (I add the carrots a few minutes before the stock and saute a bit; I think it makes them more flavorful) Bring to a gentle boil and then lower to a simmer. Let it go for 20-30 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Try not to overcook. When tender, turn off heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender (or regular blender if you don't have an immersion one). Salt and pepper to taste. Heidi says, “keep adding a few pinches at a time until the carrot flavor really pops.” Finish with a drizzle of olive oil or red chile oil.

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits (Ina Garten)

2 C flour, plus more as needed
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 C butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 C buttermilk (I used lowfat milk with a ½ TBS of white vinegar. Let it sit for 10 min before use)
1 egg
1 C grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
Egg Wash: 1 egg, beaten with 1 T water or milk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add the butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas. (You could do this by hand if you don't have a mixer, it will just take longer)

Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small cup and beat lightly with a fork. With the mixer still on low, quickly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix only until moistened. In a small bowl, mix the Cheddar with small handful of flour and, with the mixer still on low, add the cheese to the dough. Mix only until roughly combined.

Dump out onto a well-floured board and knead lightly about 6 times. Roll the dough out to a rectangle 10 by 5 inches. With a knife, cut the dough lengthwise in half and then across in quarters, making 8 rough rectangles. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with salt, if using, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the biscuits are cooked through. Serve hot or warm.