If necessity is the mother of invention then, leftover food is the mother of...well...different food.
It's winter and I cocoon in the warmth of my home. Enough food to feed a hockey team rolls out of my kitchen: Beelzebub's maw offers breads, casseroles, roast chicken, baked chops and lots and lots of roast veggies every few days.
It all gets eaten, sometimes frozen for a rainy day. Leftovers get played with--sometimes successfully, sometimes not. This is a successfull dalliance.
The other week my own poor planning left me without any exra meat or potatoes, but an overabundance of oven roasted carrots and parsnips.
I stared at them for a while. I'm sure a roast carrot and parsnip quesadilla could have done the trick, but I wasn't enthused. I could have baked some chicken legs or perhaps fried a quick steak, but for whatever reason neither of those options seemed satisfying either.
Falling snow and a quick wind put me in the mind for a hearty soup. The vegetables were roasted with warming spices of cardamom, coriander and cumin and the idea of turning them into a burnished gold soup was exactly what was called for.
As with most soups, I think this is really a non-recipe recipe: create a flavour base, add liquid, add the veggies boil and purée. Add more liquid, if needed.
My only tip I (and it's really not my tip, as I've seen it mentioned in chef interviews and recipes) is to add a bit of carrot juice after puréeing, to add a bit of brightness to the taste as well as colour.
Roasted Carrot and Parsnip Soup with Coriander
Yield approx 1.5l (6 cups)
0.5tsp black mustard seeds
0.5tsp ground coriander seeds
0.5tsp ground tumeric
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2.5cm (1") piece of ginger, minced
300g (2c) roasted carrots and parsnips
(4c) hot vegetable stock, plus more, if needed
2tsp vinegar or lemon juice
375ml (2.5c) carrot juice (optional)
salt and pepper (to taste)
coriander leaves (cilantro), minced
Heat mustard seeds in oil over medium heat until the seeds begin to crackle and pop. Tip in coriander, tumeric and cinnamon and fry for about a minute. Add the onions (and more oil, if necessary) and fry for about a minute and then add the garlic and ginger. Continue to cook until the onions are translucent and limp. Add carrots and parsnips, stiring until everything is well coated. Pour in stock and vinegar and stir. Lid the pot and let blurble away for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are heated through and yield to a wooden spoon. Take off the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes (or longer, if you wish).
Purée the soup in a food processor, immersion blender or a jug-style blender until it’s as smooth as you prefer.
Return the soup to the stove and simmer over medium heat. Add extra stock and carrot juice (if using) and stir. Balance flavours to taste.
Serve hot with optional dollop of sour cream and chopped coriander leaf stirred into each bowl.
I'm a quill for hire!