Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Herbal Soup Day

It was a cold, windy, rainy and raw day in Glenshaw today. Soooo I made a batch of Cream of Carrot and Lovage Soup. Never having made it, I made a double batch! We had our own carrots (white not orange) and potatoes and of course, herbs, lovage, parsley, even the fresh dill it called for. It is delicious and I think you will enjoy making it. Here is the recipe from the cookbook called A Celebration of Herbs Recipes from the Huntington Herb Garden, based on the lectures of Shirley Kerins. She spoke to the Western Pennsylvania Unit of the Herb Society in 2005.

Cream of Carrot and Lovage Soup

4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chopped onion
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup chopped lovage leaves
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1/3 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
5 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 (3-inch) sprig fresh dill
1 cup light cream or half and half
Salt and pepper to taste
Ground fresh nutmeg (optional)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and lovage. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and parsley; stir until coated. Add the chicken broth and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are almost tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the sprig of fresh dill and cook another 5 minutes, until the potatoes are completely tender.

Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Return the pureed soup to the saucepan. Stir in the light cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. This soup can be serve hot or cold. Chill if serving cold, or reheat without boiling to serve hot. Sprinkle with a light dusting of ground nutmeg, if desired.

The Huntington Library in San Marino, California was built by Henry Edwards and Arabella Huntington in the early twentieth century, creating an extraordinary educational and cultural institution. They also have an extraordinary collection of herbals and recipe books. The herb garden is on the site of what was originally Mrs. Huntington's flower garden and was first converted in the 1940's. The garden lay neglected until 1975. Each bed was dedicated to herbs of a particular use, including medicines, cooking, salads, teas, confections, perfumes and cosmetics, sachets and insect repellents and dyes. In 1985 the garden was again refurbished, this time under the direction of Shirley Kerins, a licensed landscape architect and trained horticulturalist, who became curator of the Huntington Herb Garden. Today the Huntington Herb Garden is regarded as one of the finest in the country because of its extensive collection of herbs. I'm hoping to get to see it some day soon. Check out the website. It is a good one.

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