Regular readers of this section might remember our semi-regular recipe feature, which we've let languish a bit, called "Eat Your Veggies." If you're into that sort of thing, or if you find yourself making dietary New Year's resolutions, you might want to seek out a beautiful new cookbook: "Eat Your Vegetables."
Published in August by Michell Beazley, the book is by Arthur Potts Dawson, a celebrity chef in Britain who's made a name for himself as "the original Green Chef," as Jamie Oliver calls him on the book jacket, supporting farms and school gardens and the like.
This book does great things for veggies, or "veg" as he collectively calls them in the intro. He promises not to preach but rather just share his favorite recipes -- more than 250 of them -- for "beauties that deserve to be given far more prominence on our dining tables and on our plates."
I went with bowls in picking this recipe, which shows up early in the book. It seemed special enough to pair with some very special carrots, which I just recently harvested, in mid December, from my own suburban organic garden.
I wasn't disappointed. The soup was delicious, with a bright heat from the ginger that was just the thing on a wintry night.
Carrot & Ginger soup
"Warming, spicy, tangy, and fresh, this soup rocks every time I taste it," writes Arthur Potts Dawson. "Increase the red pepper if you desire -- the flavors will get even more fantastic." It's vegetarian.
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 head of celery, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
4 pounds 8 ounces carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 garlic cloves
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup white long-grain rice
3/4 cup medium-dry white wine
8 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Juice of 1 lemon
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and celery, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, the whole garlic cloves, and ginger, then season with salt and pepper and add the red pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the vegetables don't stick to the base of the pan. Add the rice and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the wine to the pan, stirring to loosen any browned bits on the base, then allow all the liquid to evaporate before adding the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
Add the milk and nutmeg and allow the soup to come almost to boiling point before turning off the heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a blender in batches and blend until smooth. Return all the soup to the pan, add the lemon juice and check the seasoning, then reheat gently. Pour the soup into bowls, add a spoonful of sour cream to the center of each and surround with a few cilantro leaves.
Serves 4 to 6.
-- "Eat Your Vegetables" by Arthur Potts Dawson (Michell Beazley, Aug. 2012, $29.99)
Bob Batz Jr.: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1930.