Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Carrot Jalapeño Soup with Apple Cheddar Quesadillas

I recently harvested all the veggies I planted because I knew it was going to freeze.  What I picked included about 7 jalapeños and about a bajillion carrots which was perfect because Brandon had been bugging me to make Carrot Jalapeño Soup he tried at a local restaurant and loved.

We all know that carrots are a really healthy food.  They are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, especially beta-carotene and falcarinol, which is essential for colon health.  They are low in calories and high in fiber, and boiling carrots actually concentrates the falcarinol levels, making it easier for your body to absorb more.  Jalapeños, like all chile peppers, contain capsaicin.  That's the phytochemical that makes peppers taste hot.  Capsaicin has many benefits, and in order to keep this short and simple, I'll just list them: it helps fight cancer, relieve pain, prevent sinusitus and relieve congestion, fight inflammation, soothe intestinal diseases, burn fat and lose weight, and protect your heart by reducing cholesterol.  

So basically, this soup is not only delicious, it's a nutritional power-house.  It's thick and creamy, filling, tastes amazing and totally in season right now.  There's no reason not to make this soup ASAP!

*tip, don't worry about chopping all the veggies super small, you're going to blend them all up!

Carrot Jalapeño Soup
2 T olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
6 celery stalks, sliced
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
5 jalapeño chiles, halved and seeded
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 t ground allspice
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t dried thyme
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup fat-free half and half
1 cup graded sharp cheddar cheese

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté until tender.  Add celery, carrots, jalapeños and garlic and sauté until carrots begin to soften.  Add 4 cups stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently about 30 minutes, until carrots are tender.  Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender (or transfer, in batches, to a blender, with the center of lid removed).  Add remaining stock and half and half.  Heat until warm.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese.

Apple Cheddar Quesadillas

Slice one large, or two small, apples.  Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over one half of a tortilla.  Arrange apple slices, barely overlapping, on top of cheese, and top with more cheese.  Fold tortilla in half.  Melt a small amount of butter in a large skillet and cook each quesadilla until golden brown on the outside, and the cheese has melted.  Enjoy!

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