Every Friday afternoon, we get a delivery of organic vegetables. We never know what we’re going to get – the element of surprise is what makes it interesting. In the winter months, we tend to get a lot of root vegetables – carrots, potatoes, beets, etc. And kale. Lots of kale, which it turns out, is very tasty cooked in a little bit of oil and garlic.
We try to eat what we get each week, but sometimes we end up with a surplus of one kind of vegetable or another. I have a couple of colleagues who are willing to accept donations of fingerling potatoes and turnips. Sometimes, I just have to come up with a recipe that uses large amounts of vegetables just so we have room in our fridge.
Last week, we had a big bag of carrots in the fridge. I take carrot sticks for lunch most days, but I wasn’t eating them fast enough. So I decided to make carrot and sweet potato soup (we also had a few extra sweet potatoes – even after sharing them with my colleagues.)
The carrots we get every week aren’t your ordinary garden-variety orange carrots. They are usually every colour but orange – yellow, white, pale orange with yellow streaks, red and purple. They are much sweeter than the carrots we get at the grocery store, likely in part because they are organic, but also because they are heirloom varieties.
So I cut up most of the carrots – about 5 cups in a variety of colours – and threw them in my soup pot with some sautéed onion and garlic. I added an equivalent amount of potato – 4 cups of sweet potato and 1 medium white potato, plus water, grated ginger and a few assorted spices. Cooked everything until the vegetables were tender.
It turns out that if you cook with purple carrots, even a small quantity, you will get purple soup. Dark purple, almost the colour of eggplant. The colour doesn’t affect the taste – it tastes like a big bowl of carrots. But while purple is a good colour for many things, I’ m not sure soup is one of them.
I’m not sure why I was so surprised that the carrots turned the whole soup purple. Probably because we get purple beans in the summer, but they turn green when they are cooked. Apparently purple carrots stay purple.
So this week, I’ve been eating purple soup. I think next time I have extra purple carrots, I will add them to a stir fry. Or I could boil a couple and dye some ribbon – tea works, why wouldn’t carrots.
Here’s the recipe – orange carrots will work just fine.
1 tsp olive oil
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic. minced
2 tablespoons grated ginger
5 cups carrots, cut in half and sliced thin (I don’t bother peeling organic carrots)
4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 lg regular potato, peeled and cubed
8 cups water
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp each of cumin and garam masala
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onions and garlic until soft; add remaining vegetables, water, spices and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to low. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.