Here's another clean-out-the-fridge strategy - make soup! I had a bunch of tiny little carrots leftover from work, plus a big honkin sweet potato that refused to call my name. And I had other things on my mind.
I was in the process of making my next recipe (butterscotch pot de creme, OMG) and was already lamenting the fact that I would likely take down two, if not three, helpings of heavy cream infused with brown sugar topped with caramel and yes, more cream.
Life is about balance, no? My mind finally began to entertain the thought of revisiting the vegetable drawer to see how I could make amends.
While waiting for the pot de creme to set, in less than an hour, I had a richly spiced soup that tasted creamy but in fact had no cream. Because, you know, that cream had far more important business to attend to at the time.
But I needed more from this soup. How could I possibly choose the soup, with all that luscious pot de creme competing for my cream tooth? Texture and crunch was the answer. Checked out my freezer and yes! there were hazelnuts, poised just for this moment to shine. A little parsley and lemon zest, and this soup was ready to roll.
It's an amazing light dinner, capped off with 2 jars of pot de creme. Balance, my friends.
Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Hazelnut Gremolata
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 30 min Total Time: 45 min
1 lb / 450 g carrots, washed and chopped into 2" lengths, halved lengthwise if thick
1 large sweet potato (about 3/4 lb), peeled and chopped into 1" cubes
1 serrano chile, halved lengthwise and deseeded
4 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 large onion
1" piece ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp Ras el Hanout; OR sub in 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne
32 oz / 950 mL chicken or vegetable stock
handful of hazelnuts, toasted
handful of parsley, leaves picked
dollop of plain yogurt for serving
Soup: Preheat oven to 425F / 220C. Toss carrots, sweet potato and chile with about 2 Tbs olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping once, until vegetables can be easily pierced with a knife, but not very browned.
Meanwhile, peel and chop onions roughly, then peel and chop ginger and garlic cloves. Heat 2 Tbs oil in a large pot over medium-low. Add onion, ginger, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and translucent but not browned, about 10 minutes.
Stir in spices and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add stock and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat.
Remove vegetables from oven. Using the parchment paper to lift them off the baking sheet, pour vegetables into soup pot.
Puree soup in a blender in batches or whiz with an immersion blender until smooth, adding extra water to get the consistency you like. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
Gremolata: Zest the lemon. Chop hazelnuts and parsley together, then stir in lemon zest.
To serve: Reheat soup. Stir in juice from half the lemon. Serve in bowls topped with a small dollop of yogurt with gremolata sprinked on top. Serve extra lemon on the side.