Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Carrots

By Guest Blogger Liz Layton, GIC

You know how there are some foods you like, except they always get seem to get stuck in between your teeth?  Popcorn kernels.  Celery strings.  Until now the annoyance of digging out little pieces of carrot stick provided the perfect excuse for avoiding carrots.  But that excuse went poof! today when someone shared homemade carrot soup. It was creamy with a gingery zing and undertones of a great broth.  I’m not enough of a foodie to tell you what all was in it just based on tasting it (see the recipe below), but it turned me around on carrot consumption. More carrot soup please!

Did you know that the first carrots were just about every color except orange?  The popular root vegetable acquired its now familiar color when Dutch horticulturalists developed a new variety for the royal House of Orange.

There are plenty of reasons we’ve been told to eat our carrots – they’re a good source of beta carotene, which turns into vitamin A, which is good for your skin, bones, teeth, and immune system. They also contain the anti-cancer compound falcarinol.  Carrots are high in fiber, and we know why that’s good.  They are low in sodium and low in calories.  And a bag of carrots is one of the least expensive choices in the vegetable bin.     

Studies have found that carrots retain their nutritional strength even when they are cooked.  But don’t chop them before cooking – just peel them and plop the entire carrot in the pot. Carrots retain more nutritional value when they’re cooked whole.  To get you started on enjoying more carrots, here’s the soup recipe.  

Carrot Ginger Soup
6 TBSP (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
|**Healthy substitution for butter – substitute 3/4 teaspoon of olive oil for each teaspoon of butter required in the recipe. There are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon, which means this recipe calls for 18 teaspoons of butter, so the substitution would be 13.5 teaspoons of olive oil (a little less than ¼ cup). Source: Livestrong
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger root
3 cloves garlic, minced
7 cups Berta’s Chicken Stock
1 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 pounds carrots, peeled
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
Pinch curry powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Snipped fresh chives or chopped fresh parsley (garnish)

Heat the butter [or olive oil] in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and sauté for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the stock, wine, and carrots. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered over medium heat until the carrots are very tender, about 45 minutes. Purée the soup in a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade. Season with lemon juice, curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the chives or parsley. Serve the soup hot or chilled. 

Makes 6 portions

 Thanks to Kathy Glynn for the recipe from The Silver Palate Good Times cookbook.

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