Roasting vegetables not only makes the kitchen smell great, it also concentrates their flavor. So anything roasted makes a great base for soups. The carrots in this soup become rather sweet, which is why the slightly sour sumac is a great addition. This soup doesn’t need much else, except for salt and a little shallot. And olive oil of course. I also tried to incorporate the carrot greens by turning them into a tangy pesto. On their own they are a little bitter, but mixed with mint they taste fresh and bright. Carrot tops are unfortunately often not even sold, although they are very nutritious. Maybe because it’s (falsely) assumed they are inedible? (Read this article here for some details). Parsley works as a substitute in this recipe, but I find it’s worth looking out for fresh, preferably organic carrots with greens and use them too.
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Recently I watched Gabrielle Hamilton make a particularly delicious-looking dish on ‘The Mind of a Chef’. She chargrilled aubergines over the open flame of a gas burner, then turned them into a simple but sumptuous spread with lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and freshly-baked flatbread. Around the same time a friend told me about an Ottolenghi/ Tamimi recipe for burnt aubergine soup. I decided to give those aubergines a try and ended up with this pumpkin-sweet potato-aubergine mix. It’s a warming, spicy and smooth soup, perfect for chilly autumn days. I didn’t dare roasting aubergines over the open flame in my kitchen but instead chose to grill them in the oven, which achieves – I find – the same result: the burnt aubergine has a light smokey flavor, which is a perfect complement to the sweetness of the pumpkin and the deep aroma of the za’atar. Try it, I’m sure you will love it!
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This is a seriously delicious soup. The limes, the taste of roasted garlic, some creaminess from the (also roasted) tomatoes, and the crispy tortilla strips together are true perfection, especially if you like sour things like I do. I used a recipe from saveur.com, but veganized it by using tofu instead of chicken, which is maybe a bit odd since sopa de lima is actually a traditional chicken (or, even more traditionally, turkey) soup from the Yucatan region of Mexico. In fact, it’s a recipe that goes back to Mayan times. But honestly, with all the strong flavors in this soup I find the protein is almost not needed, I just added the tofu to give it some bite.
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Sunchokes (Topinambur in German) are funny little creatures. They have a mildly sweet, nutty flavor with a hint of artichoke, which is how I think they got their name – actually they are a type of sunflower. When making this soup, make sure to use fresh sunchokes, they keep in the fridge only for a few days. In any case, the pairing with very bright citrus flavors works perfectly for the sunchokes, especially during this endless winter…
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The first snow, in Bavaria right after Christmas! Now we’re back to our typical grey rainy Berlin winter, but it was nice while it lasted. This is a soup I made during the holidays using celeriac, or celery root. I love that vegetable, even though it’s often overlooked. I paired it with pears here to add some freshness and acidity, because celeriac on its own can be a bit too earthy I find. The lemon juice and honey help to soften those flavors. Have this soup with some fresh baguette and a nice glass of crisp white wine…
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