Okay here goes, I’m about to tell you how my brain works when I come up with new ideas! It’s definitely soup season here and I’ve been meaning to make a carrot soup, of course not just any ol carrot soup! Actually the more I think about it I know exactly how this particular dish evolved…it started this afternoon when I was eating roasted vegetable hummus and thought chickpeas, that would be good with carrots! I thought it would add some body to the soup as well as a bit of creaminess without having to add cream. Later I was at the gym doing my cardio while watching the food network (It’s extremely tragic that I don’t have cable at the moment, so this is the only chance I get to watch my food tv!) and was watching caramel popcorn being made when I thought popcorn…that could definitely work as a garnish! It would add some crunch to the creamy soup, as well visual appeal. Thinking about popcorn reminded me of this time I had popcorn drizzled with truffle oil. (This is where the wheels really started turning) and I remembered I had some truffled honey that I brought back from Italy and both truffles and honey would work nicely with carrots. I needed something to hold the popcorn garnish so it wouldn't get all soggy and melt into the soup, when I thought of pancetta, which would add a nice saltiness and crispy texture to the smooth soup as well. Visualizing how I would serve it, I realized it needed a bit more color then the orange soup, red pancetta and white popcorn which made me think of dill, which goes great with carrots and would add a nice touch of green. Soo that is my thought process! Sometimes I think it's a great concern how much I think about food...! Above is a pic of the delicious truffled honey which I drizzled on the popcorn. I could eat this stuff by the spoonfuls!
Carrot and Chickpea Soup w/ Crispy Pancetta and Truffled Honey Popcorn
8 local carrots, small diced
1 white onion, small diced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk of celery, small diced
2 cups cooked chickpeas (if using canned, drain and rinse)
8 cups chicken stock (I used organic veg stock this time)
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped, reserve some for garnish
honey to taste (regular honey, optional depending on how sweet your carrots are)
pancetta, pan fried (or baked) till crispy
truffled honey (or regular honey)
*another option is to finish the soup with truffle oil or fresh truffles if you can get your hands on them*
1. Heat oil in a big pot and sweat off onions, then carrot and celery, then garlic and ginger until soft. Add in chickpeas
2. Add stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Use a hand blender, regular blender or food processor, puree until smooth.
3. Season to taste and finish with dill.