We all know the culinary benefits of carrots added to stews, soups and veggie-bakes, but fresh as they are these carrots are best washed clean and steamed for only about 5 minutes to render them succulent and naturally fresh-tasting, just tossed in butter and perhaps a smidgen of lemon or lime added. They are a beautiful side to any meat or vegetable meal, also pan or oven fried. Peeling them can be detrimental to looks, taste and nutritional value, a good scrubbing is usually sufficient to render them useful. Wow family and friends with a glass full of colourful carrot sticks as a snack with a delicious aeoli or avo dip.
Nutritional information/health benefits
Carrots are a rich source of carotenes and vitamin A. Flavonoid compounds in carrots help protect from skin, lung and oral cavity cancers. Beta carotene is a powerful anti-oxidant and vitamin A assists in clarity of vision and sperm production. Fresh roots are high in vitamin C, helping maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth and gums. Carrots are also rich in many B-complex vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B-6, thiamin, pantothenic acid etc, acting as co-factors to enzymes during metabolism. Further they comprise healthy levels of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus, assisting in controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium intake.
Tip: If you lack some of the ingredients but the recipe helps you to use what you have to make a tasty meal, consider its purpose served.
Carrot soup with celeriac and ginger
Ingredients: fresh onions, fresh carrots, fresh celeriac, fresh ginger, olive oil, sea salt, smoked paprika and fresh sage.
Directions: Remove skins from onion and dice one cupful. Peel and chop 5 cups carrots. Peel and dice 1 cup celeriac. Peel and mince 2T ginger. In a large metal soup pot heat 1T olive oil, ¼ t sea salt and 1T water with onion and celeriac for 5 minutes over medium heat. Stir in ginger, carrots, 5 cups water, ¼ t salt, ¼ t pepper, cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium low and cook covered for 45 minutes.
To ½ cup sage leaves add 2 T olive oil, place into a small skillet and warm over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add sage leaves and cook for 1 minute. Flip sage leaves over and cook for an additional 30 seconds, remove to a paper towel to drain.
Remove soup pot from the heat, and with a hand blender blend soup until smooth. Serve with a T of crispy sage leaves and a sprinkling of sea salt and pepper.
Roasted baby carrot and sweet potato soup and kale chips
Ingredients: fresh onions, fresh carrots, fresh sweet potato, fresh kale, dry riesling wine, spring onion infused olive oil, fresh parsley, sea salt and pepper. Turkish pulkirmizi biber and cayenne spice optional. Good bread.
To make any infused oils and vinegars, slice the required aromatic into 1cm slices and place in a jar. Add a little salt and cover with the oil or vinegar. Leave in the refrigerator for a week. Strain oil into a jar and reserve the greens to be used as and when needed, seperately.
Directions: Preheat oven. Chop 2 large onions, wash and chop 500g of baby carrots and 2 sweet potatoes with skins on. Place vegetables in a baking dish and add 2T oil, sea salt and pepper. Stir well and place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove vegetables and add to stockpot with 2 cups of wine and 3 cups water. Bring to the boil, reduce and cook on low for 25 minutes. Remove stems from kale and tear into chip-size pieces. Add 2 cups kale to the baking dish, stir in 1t oil and sea salt. Roast in the oven for 6 - 7 minutes then remove to cool. Remove soup from heat, add ½ cup parsley, stir and cool for 5 minutes. Blend with hand blender directly in pot; taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with a drizzle of spring onion infused olive oil, sea salt, kale chips and good bread. Stir in a little turkish pul kirmize biber and cayenne spice for a little heat if desired.
Carrot and cilantro soup
Ingredients: Olive oil, fresh garlic, ginger, carrots, cilantro. Salt. Smoked paprika.
Directions: Peel and mince 4 garlic cloves and a 4cm section of ginger. Peel and chop 5 cups carrots. Remove ½ cup cilantro leaves from stems and mince.
In a large metal soup pot heat 2 T olive oil with garlic and ginger; cover and cook for three minutes. Stir in carrots, 2T olive oil and ¼ t salt; cover and cook for ten minutes. Stir in 5 cups water with ¼ t salt; cover and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat to low and cook covered for fifty minutes.
Remove soup pot from heat. With a hand blender, blend soup directly in metal soup pot until smooth. Serve soup with 1 T minced cilantro and smoked paprika sprinkled on top and sea salt. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.
Potato, Parsnip, Carrot and Swiss Chard/spinach Soup
Ingredients: Fresh garlic, olive oil, young potatoes, parsnips, carrots, rosemary, thyme, beans, swiss chard.
Directions: Chop and saute 4 cloves garlic with 1 T olive oil. Transfer to large soup pot. Wash and slice 2 cups young potatoes, 1 cup parsnips and 1 cup carrots and add to the soup pot with two T olive oil and saute again for about 5 minutes.
Mince together 1 T rosemary and 1 T thyme leaves. Rinse 1 can of beans and add all, with 6 cups water, to soup pot. Add ¼ t sea salt. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for twenty minutes.
Remove 2 cups swiss chard greens from stems and chiffonade (finely slice). Remove soup from heat, stir in swiss chard greens with 1/8 t sea salt and let the soup rest, covered, for at least five minutes. Stir and serve with another sprinkling of sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.