This would be a great Thanksgiving recipe! I spent about an hour today roaming around the Union Square farmer's market and picking up some fresh, locally-grown vegetables. Not surprisingly, there was an abundance of root vegetables. It's hard to imagine much is growing above-ground this time of year (although several stands did still have tomatoes). But I bought a bunch of carrots because I love them as snacks... and then I saw the leeks. Epiphany!
This turned out even better than I hoped. The saffron and cocoa gave it tons of flavor, and the pepper gave it a subtle spicy aftertaste. You could finish this off with a half-cup of cream stirred in, if you wanted, or a drizzle of olive oil over the top. I just added a teaspoon or so of sour cream, and it was perfect!
Carrot Leek Soup
1 pound of carrots, peeled
1 small white onion
1 leek, washed with leaves discarded
3 cloves garlic
5 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cocoa powder
1/8 tsp chili powder (or more, to your preference)
1 bay leaf
Generous pinch of saffron threads
Pinch of black pepper
Sour cream, to garnish
1. Slice carrots into 1/4" round pieces. Chop onion into 1/2" pieces.
2. In a large saucepan, bring vegetable broth, carrots, onion, leek, garlic, and spices to a gentle boil.
3. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Strain the soup, collecting liquid in a large mixing bowl.
5. Pour solids into a food processor. Discard bay leaf. Puree until smooth.
6. Pour puree from the food processor into the mixing bowl with the broth. Mix until blended.
7. Pour soup into bowls, garnish with sour cream, and serve.