February 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm , by Tom Claire
There is something special about a hot, thick, body- and soul-warming soup, especially on frigid winter days when your house is surrounded by more than four feet of snow and ice and your roof carries almost as much—plus icicles everywhere. Yep, when it is so cold that even pets don’t want to go outdoors, that is the time for something like the Carrot-Sweet Potato Soup featured in “Slow-Good Soups” in our February 2011 issue (page 124). Truth be told, this numbered among the easiest soups I have ever made, and my wife, Lindsay, would rank its degree of preparation for beginning cooks. But on the scale of satisfaction (more on that in a moment) it definitely merited a perfect 10.
Preparation: We followed the recipe to a tee except we used two Knorr vegetable bouillon cubes in lieu of chicken broth (we eat no meat) and we had only dark honey purchased locally in Fairfield County, Connecticut, so we used that (not clover honey). And since we had our woodstove cranked up the entire weekend, we decided to slow-cook this soup on top of it instead of in a slow cooker. Why not? That was how our forebears used to make dishes like this, and we had all day long to let it heat.
Service: Lindsay decided to top our steaming bowls with a dollop of sour cream and decided that the next time we make this soup we would add some spinach, both for flavor and nutrients. We broke out some baguettes to go with this heart-warmer and decided that a newly popular white wine from Argentina, Torrontés, would bring out the soup’s sweetness as well as highlight its peppery spiciness. We chose the inexpensive 2009 Catena Alamos Salta Torrontés ($14), a full-bodied wine that features both a flowery bouquet yet has a little citrus in its flavor, sort of like a sauvignon blanc.
Special notes: This soup recipe works perfectly fine as written up and Lindsay and I will serve it again, both as a stand-alone dish with baguettes for ourselves and as a hearty side dish for company. As noted above, the recipe lends itself to adaptation and experimentation (adding spinach, for example). It might do with a touch of cayenne pepper, too, for some added spice. —Tom and Lindsay Claire
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