July 17, 2006

Soup n' Sandwich

This is a great midweek meal. It's a dressed-up soup and sandwich combo that, with a little preparation the night before, is easy to pull off as a mid-week meal

Carrot and Leek Soup (adapted from Soup, A Way of Life, by Barbara Kafka)

NOTE: To save time, I cut up the veggies the night before

  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3 medium leeks, cleaned very well, white and light green parts only, cut into half-inch slices (I think it's easier to clean leeks if you cut them length wise down the middle and then sort of fan out the halfs as you run A LOT of water over them)
  • 5 large carrots, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 3 cups chicken stock (if you don’t have any homemade around, a good store-bought brand we like is an actual stock called Kitchen Basics; also like Pacific's Organic chicken broth, but it's a little sweet)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt to taste (I won't comment on the superiority of kosher to iodized salt)
  • Pepper (white if you've got it, which we never do)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Dump in cardamom and stir frequently for about 2 minutes. Add the leeks, cover with a lid and cook for 5-7 minutes, with a stir here and there. Add carrots and stock, bring up to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 13-15 minutes. [NOTE: This is the toughest part of the recipe: you definitely want to get the carrots tender. The second time we made this, I rushed the carrots and they were not as tender as they should have been. As a result, the end product did not have the creaminess it should have. That said, don’t cook the carrots to a mushy pulp].

Add to a blender or food processor. Might want to do 2 batches if you don’t have a large blender or processor.

Put soup into your serving pot/bowl, stir in the cream and serve. [NOTE: As this soup is a main part of your meal, I might recommend doing just ¼ of cream and ¼ of whatever milk you have. A big bowl of this made with heavy cream can be a bit overwhelming. That said, I’d recommend not having a big bowl of it anyway. It’s a rich soup and a little goes a long way.]

This makes a good bit of soup, so you definitely can freeze the leftover.

Prosciutto sandwich

  • Fresh baguette or ciabatta
  • 2-3 slices of prosciutto
  • Butter

Cut the bread into sandwich-sized lengths and then in half, add some butter to one or both sides, add your prosciutto.

Just the prosciutto and butter is delicious. But if you want to add some other tastes, some thinly sliced fresh mozzarella and roasted red peppers – both of which are typically available in most decent grocery stores these days – work very well.

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