Even though I had an incredible weekend in Charleston during the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, I was ready to get back home last week. Ge Ge (my five-year-old son) immediately clamored to know what I’d eaten and who I’d seen (mostly, he just wanted stories about my dad, his “Gong Gong” and my mom, his “Puo Puo”). Meimei, my three-year-old daughter, acted like any rational woman would. Instead of just hugging me and telling me she missed me, she stonewalled me at first, refusing to acknowledge my return. Then, over the next few days, she threw some epic tantrums about nothing at all. In other words, there was emotional fallout, but none of it was directly connected to my actual trip to Charleston.
Women. I swear.
Anyway, I promised Ge Ge that I’d make up my absence in delicious dinners. The only problem was that since I’d been gone, I hadn’t had time to make my usual shopping trips, and all we had in the ‘fridge was a random smattering of vegetables — five purple carrots, a red onion, a handful of green onions, and a couple of apples.
Enter the roasted carrot and apple soup.
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One of the things I love about going to food events is that the food I get to sample serves as such great inspiration for future meals that I cook at home. Over the course of Charleston Wine + Food, I noticed trends among the many, many different samples I tried. Pickled kumquats, for example, were really popular this year, making their appearance as an acidic yet slightly sweet contrast to a glazed duck dish but also as a garnish to a thinly sliced scallop ceviche. I also noticed a recurring trend of roasted pumpkin seeds (more frequently called by their Mexican name, pepitas). I loved the addition of pepitas from everything to a lightly dressed salad to creamy grits with a mole chicken leg. I was especially excited when I got home and discovered that we had a bag of pepitas in our pantry. For me, it’s like the food equivalent of predicting the winner at a horse race. I CALLED IT.
This soup isn’t all that complicated. I coarsely chopped the carrots, apple and red onion and tossed them in olive oil, then spread the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet for roasting. While they were roasting, I helped the hubby grill a bunch of yogurt-marinated chicken that I’d prepped the previous night. Then, once the carrots, apples and onion were roasted, I threw everything into my Ninja blender and blended it with chicken stock to get the consistency I wanted. I finished the soup by returning the mixture to the stove and letting it warm slightly.
As a final touch, I mixed together some heavy cream and sour cream a little salt, then sprinkled on some of those pepitas from our pantry. The result was a rustic soup with just a hint of sweet earthiness. The crunchy pepitas were my favorite part, adding a nice textural contrast.
The kids and hubby happily slurped their soup that night.
It’s good to be home.
- 4-5 medium-sized carrots, washed and cut into 1.5" chunks
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and halved
- 1 medium gala or pink lady apple, peeled, cored and sliced into 6 thick slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- Make ahead: prepare the crema. Combine the sour cream, heavy cream and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit out at room temperature for up to 3 hours, then refrigerate.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, apple and red onion. Coat with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour mixture onto baking sheet and arrange in a single layer.
- Roast the vegetables for 25-30 minutes, removing the sheet from the oven about halfway through and stirring the vegetables a bit. Remove the roasted, tender vegetables from the oven and let cool slightly.
- Place roasted veggies in the bowl of a food processor and add the cumin and 2 cups of the chicken broth. Close the lid and pulse to puree the veggies and broth, then continue adding broth in a steady stream with the food processor running until you get a good consistency for the soup.
- Pour the soup into a saucepan and heat on medium-low heat until steaming. Spoon into bowls and garnish with crema and pepitas. Serve immediately.