Thursday, August 30, 2007

Carrot Top And Rice Soup, Lentil and Barley Stew


Somewhere or other I remember reading that carrot tops were good to eat and good for you. They are? Never heard that in my lifetime, I swear. But I do remember reading that in the last couple of months, and at the farmers' market these days there are lovely lovely little carrots with beautiful lacy tops, as crisp and green as you please. Weeeeeeelllll, game for anything, I tried nibbling. Hmmmm. Not bad. Carrotty, but green-carrotty, sort of a cross between carrot and parsley with a little je ne sais quoi thrown in (which phrase I threw in, I hasten to explain, to convince those of you who have been eating carrot tops all their lives that I'm not completely clueless. So there.).

So, your intrepid kitchen maven surfed the net and came up with a Tuscan Carrot Top and Rice Soup HERE, which of course, being me, I changed around a bit to make it fit in with my own eating style and what I had in my kitchen.

Instad of sauteeing in olive oil, as per the recipe, I cooked the veggies in a little stock until the onions were translucent and then added the vegetable broth (the last of my homemade broth, as it turned out - see below!). We use long grain brown rice here, not short grain anything, and I just happened to have some left over in the fridge which I put in a little later than the recipe called for, since it didn't need to cook. I used a bundle of tiny carrots more or less equivalent to the 2 small carrots the recipe called for, 4 cloves of garlic rather than three, 2 cups of the carrot tops, finely chopped, and of course skipped the grated cheese.

The result? Delicious. Mild tasting, wonderfully delicate, lovely carrot and rice soup with (what could it be, those green bits in it?), er, greens. Recommended.


I was reading Jackie's new blog, FROM JACKIE VETTER'S KITCHEN and saw this stew recipe with the provocative name! I thought it sounded good so I made it for lunch today! Sadly, I was out of homemade stock (and I no longer use the commercial variety unless I can get reduced salt or salt-free, which I can't right now), so I had to let the stew make it's own stock - which is to say I used water.

The second problem I ran into was thinking I had brown lentils, which is what Jackie used. I didn't, so (since we really wanted to eat today) I substituted (ready for this?) yellow split peas. I also used white potatoes instead of red, pot barley instead of pearl barley. Carrots, celery, garlic, onion, green pepper, canned tomatoes and the various lovely spices I had, so no problem. For 'greens' I used chopped kale. I skipped the sauteeing in olive oil, as per usual, and to make up for the lack of stock I added around 4 ounces of chopped mushrooms and some oregano. That worked fine - along with a quarter-cup of sherry - in the stew pot, not the cook.

Here it is after all ingredients have been added.

Somehow, the dished photo didn't get taken - we were too busy getting it into the bowls, onto the table and into our tums. I made half a recipe and there's enough for 3 or 4 more people our size :) We started with a spinach salad (with sliced pear, craisins, a little red onion, a little sweet red pepper in balsamic and rice vinegar dressing), accompanied the stew with fresh corn bread.

This stew recipe is a keeper. Thanks, Jackie!! And I promise to have brown lentils for next time!!!

And through all this? Well, the furkids slept, two of the three together. They missed all but some crumbs from the cornbread LOL


Jackie Vetter said...


This looks delicious. I'm going to try some dishes with yellow split peas.

I wish I were where you are with regards to veganism and fat, but alas, I am on a journey to get there. I will be one day.

Jackie Vetter

Anonymous said...

Everything looks great!

I bought Erin's cookbook (finally!) after reading about the "banana bread" on your blog. Well, it was the first thing I made, and I have to say...I was so disappointed! Mine did not hold together nearly as well as yours did--after a day in the fridge, I was still unable to lift out a "slice" without it falling apart. It did get firm, but I had to eat it out of the bread pan with a fork! It tasted good, but wasn't exactly what I had in mind...any tips? Yours looked so good and it appeared as though you were able to slice it. I am not giving up!


River said...

Well, Jackie, the no-added-fat aspect of my cooking has little or nothing to do with my veganism - lots of good vegan oils and oily foods out there - but I don't go well with fatty things, so I have cut them down and down over time. I feel better now :)

And I LOVE yellow split peas too!


River said...

Hi Courtney! Isn't Erin's cookbook a blast? Talk about innovative dishes! About the Banana 'Bread' recipe: the important thing there is to drain those peas really really REALLY well. I put mine in a colander and pressed down, and then left them to drip for a while :) This made zapping them with the blender tricky - I used a wand and did them a little bit at a time in a deep bowl. And yes, mine did indeed slice okay - true photo. I didn't try 'toasting' it under the broiler to have it crisper (for a surface for spreading something-or-other) because I like it the way it comes. Yum!


Anonymous said...

Thanks River--I will try again. I didn't "drain" mine--I just let them cook until all of the liquid was gone...maybe that was my problem? I am still hopeful and and excited to give it another go. Thanks for your response!

Thanks again

Carrie™ said...

The stew looks amazing! I didn't know you could eat carrot tops either. I've never heard of it. Interesting.

River said...

Good luck, Courtney - let us know how it goes. And of course if you have serious problems, you could always ask Erin himself :)

River said...

Hi Carrie!!! Always lovely to see you here :) No, I didn't know about carrot tops either - supposed to be shockingly nutritious etc. Main thing is that they add a carrotty taste to soups and stews - sort of crossed with parsley - without any bitterness. I use them by the handful or cupful. Mind you, the new carrots are over now :( so I guess that's just about it for another year - soon back to carrots in plastic packs (oh misery misery misery) or those huge things that are as tough as wood.

urban vegan said...

The stew looks stew-pendous, and the furkids are just adorable. SO nice that they get along so well.

R2K said...

: )

River said...

Sorry to be late publishing your comments! I've been away - but more about that later!!! Hugs!!