Roasted Carrot and Leek Soup

Cider food pairings leek soup

There is nothing more satisfying than a pureed fall vegetable soup. This recipe calls for carrots, but it is equally delicious when made with pumpkin or butternut squash. But you don’t want to miss the Maple-Bacon Chutney…oh my, as I have said before, cooking with Olaiya is always rewarding and this is one of those OMG toppings that makes a humble soup reach royalty status. The chutney can be made in advance, or make extra to top roasted squash later in the week. After you taste it, you will find many ways to use this chutney!

Yield: 10-12 servings

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter

5 pounds young carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces

Kosher salt, to taste

2-3 large leeks, chopped (white and pale green parts only)

1 1/3 cups chopped celery

2 teaspoons minced ginger

10 cups (or more) chicken or vegetable broth

For garnish: crème fraîche, minced preserved lemon and crumbled pancetta or Maple-Bacon Chutney (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large pot over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add carrots and toss to coat. Arrange carrots on rimmed baking sheets and sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast until very tender and starting to brown, stirring occasionally, about 20-30 minutes.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in the same pot over medium heat. Add leeks, celery, ginger and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté until leeks begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add roasted carrots and sauté for 2 minutes. Add broth. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until leeks and celery are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, carefully puree soup in a blender. Return soup to pot. Thin with more broth, if desired. Season with more salt if necessary.

Bring soup to a simmer. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with preserved lemon, crème fraîche and pancetta or Maple-Bacon Chutney, if desired.

Maple-Bacon Chutney

Yield: about 3/4 cup

6 thick cut slices bacon (or pancetta)

1 small shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon grade B maple syrup, plus more to reach desired consistency

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Chop the bacon into 1/4 inch strips.

In a medium sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium-low heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain off any excess fat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the maple syrup and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chives and black pepper. Thin with additional maple syrup to desired consistency.

Can be made up to 4 days in advance. Bring to room temperature before serving.