New Year, New Look

Welcome to the new-look Devil’s Food Advocate site. This is the start of what I hope will be a more user-friendly and fun site to come and learn about the pleasures of good cooking with the best ingredients. Today is the perfect day to be in the kitchen with the oven on and a pot of soup simmering on the stove. The sunny, mild weather earlier this week has turned back to the winter we all knew was lurking out there. As I write there is a steady stream of small white particles falling to the ground. So in order to stay warm and dispel the grey chill that is outdoors, I have made a bright carrot and leek soup.

Carrot and Leek Soup

For the Soup
1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup leeks, cleaned and sliced thinly
1/2 small onion, cut in medium dice
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
kosher salt
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed, lightly crushed in a mortar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups vegetable or light chicken stock

To Finish and Garnish
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 scant teaspoon Dijon mustard
1-2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
Croutons made from caraway or marble rye bread

In a sturdy soup pot, melt the butter with the oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, and well-washed leeks (I swish mine in a bowl of water and lift them out so that the dirt and grit stay behind).

Add a large pinch of salt and stir the vegetables to coat with the butter and oil. Cover and cook over medium heat until the vegetables have softened somewhat, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the white wine, increase the heat and allow the wine to bubble away for a minute or two, with the pot uncovered. Add the stock, thyme, dry mustard, caraway seed, and celery seed. (You may need to add additional salt at this time, depending on the saltiness of your stock). Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer until the vegetables are completely tender throughout. This may take 30-40 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup in a blender (in batches) or with an immersion blender. At this point I always pass the soup through a sieve for a more refined texture, but this step is optional. Return the soup to the pot and bring to serving temperature. Whisk in the heavy cream and the Dijon mustard. Taste for salt and acid and adjust with the rice wine vinegar to your liking. Ladle the hot soup into serving bowls and top with crispy rye-bread croutons and a few fresh thyme leaves.

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