“Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.” – Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)
Soups make a pretty regular appearance at our home. We adore a bowl of steaming hot soup on a chilly day. There is nothing quite as comforting as a pot of homemade soup simmering away on the stove. This is especially true when temperatures drop more than 40 degrees in one evening and you wake up to a cold, dark and rainy day.
That is what happened this week in Atlanta. It was quite the shock after mid 80’s one afternoon and temps in the 40’s the next morning. So, what is a girl to do in this kind of weather? Why, make a pot of soup, of course! However, this time, I prepared and cooked my soup in a blender. Say what?!
I have a confession to make. I am
very a little obsessed with kitchen gadgets. Yes, anything that has to do with cooking and the kitchen gets me as excited as a purchasing a new pair of Manolo Blaniks shoes…well, maybe not that excited…but almost. Normally, my kitchen gadget purchases are more traditional items like Le Creuset pots, whisks and sauté pans.
However, when I received an email about a sale at Williams-Sonoma on this nifty Blend and Cook Soupmaker by Cuisinart, I was all about that and decided we should pack up the car and head out to the mall and take a look at this gadget. After all, we were in the market for a new blender and just hadn’t taken the time to look for one.
I was a bit skeptical about the whole soup making process in a blender thing, but was definitely intrigued after watching the video on the Williams-Sonoma website. I really enjoy the long and sometimes arduous process of soup making on the stove. I love the aroma while it cooks and the depth of flavor that is created by deglazing the pot and the long simmering process. I am pretty
old fashioned traditional when it comes to these things.
On the other hand, if I could make soup quicker and with less mess, I knew that I would be more inclined to make it more often and have soup for lunch on chilly days. Besides, this gadget was a combined soup maker and regular blender, so it was not just about making soup. It was a replacement for our current blender that no longer worked properly.
This blender in its soup making mode, heats the oil or butter, cooks the ingredients, stirs them and if it is a creamy soup, purees the ingredients to create a very smooth and fresh hot soup.
What is my verdict after making soup in a blender? I have to say, I am pretty impressed. Within about a 40 minute time frame (from start to finish), I had an incredibly flavorful and unbelievably silky smooth Spiced Carrot Soup that would be luscious enough to serve to company. It was garnished with crispy Prosciutto, a dollop of Greek Yogurt and some snipped cilantro. Pretty fancy stuff.
One suggestion I have is that when you are “sautéing” or cooking the vegetables at the beginning of the soup making process, you need to chop your veggies into small pieces before tossing them in the blender. The “stir” function will work better if your vegetable pieces are smaller. It is a bit difficult to “stir” one pound of uncooked, dry carrots with one blade. You might even need to use a silicone spatula a time or two before your liquids are added. You do not want to burn up the motor.
The heating element gets a pretty fiery boil going once you add the liquids and crank it up to high. I cooked mine just a few extra minutes to be sure the carrots and onions were very soft. The blender did an excellent job of creating an exceptionally smooth soup and the best part was that I could keep it warm on the heating unit and then pour it directly from the blender into the serving dishes without creating any additional dirty dishes or utensils. Yay!
Will I be giving up my traditional method of cooking soups? No, not any time soon. I still enjoy a good pot of bubbling soup simmering on the stove. However, I will use this Blend and Cook Soupmaker for quick soups and lunches and recipes that require a really nice pureed texture.
This recipe is excellent and can be easily adjusted to prepare on your stove top. I love the addition of the Vadouvan Curry. It has a slightly different taste than some other curry powders. This soup will definitely be a staple in our house this winter. It is low in calories, really good for you (think beta-carotene) and very tasty.
* I purchased this blender and decided to write about its performance and the soup since I really enjoyed using it and think that it’s a very nifty idea. If you like unusual kitchen gadgets, need a new blender or are interested in less mess in the kitchen when making soup, then this Cuisinart Blend and Cook Soupmaker may be something you want to take a peek at.
Enjoy the recipe!
Spiced Carrot Soup
Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
This delightful and very easy to make Spiced Carrot Soup is designed for the Cuisinart Blend and Cook Soupmaker, however, you can easily adapt this to prepare on the stove top.
4 thin slices prosciutto
2 Tbs. olive oil (I used Extra-Virgin Olive Oil)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
6 carrots, about 1 lb. total, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices (*See cook's note below)
1 tsp. vadouvan curry powder (available at Williams-Sonoma)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 cups chicken stock (I used Swanson's Organic chicken broth)
Greek yogurt for garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet.
2. Place the prosciutto on the rack-lined baking sheet and bake until crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. (My prosciutto was very thin, so it only took about 12 minutes to brown and crisp.)
3. Meanwhile, in a Cuisinart soup maker and blender over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, using the stir function occasionally, until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the carrots and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, salt and pepper and cook, using the stir function occasionally, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, using the stir function occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Using a towel, hold the lid down and blend on the highest setting until the soup is silky in texture, 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Pour the soup into warmed bowls. Drizzle with yogurt, top with the crispy prosciutto and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
* Cook's note: Use organic carrots for this soup. They have a much nicer and sweeter flavor and really make a difference when the main ingredient is carrots in the recipe. I would suggest cutting them a bit smaller than 1/2-inch slices so they are not so cumbersome in the blender/soupmaker.
Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma Kitchens