Posts Tagged ‘carrots’

An autumn/winter soup this–with a big presence.

Adapted from Leslie Forbes’ lovely book  A Table in Tuscany.

In the early eighties she had the bright idea of eating her way round Tuscany’s restaurants and watering holes–an arduous task to set oneself.

This soup–one of the best bean soups in Tuscanyshe credits to the restaurant of the Fattoria dei Barbi near Montalcino and the unnamed English cook, married to an Italian, thus providing the important advantage of a Tuscan mother-in-law!  This is 25 years ago mind–things have a habit of changing.

The book remains a gem (used copies available on Amazon for a penny!).

2 carrots--chopped small

2 sticks of celery–chopped small

2 leeks–cleaned and chopped small

6 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 tinned tomatoes–chopped up with their liquid

A sprig of fresh thyme

1 large garlic clove–pulped

Half a green cabbage–stem removed and shredded

The other half of the cabbage shredded thinly–this for a topping (see below)

1 tablespoon olive oil

About 800 gms/24 oz of cooked white beans [canned or bottled or dried, soaked and cooked]–drained but their liquid retained

1 pint/500ml stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sweat the celery, leeks and carrots until they are tender–about twenty minutes.
  • Mix in the tomatoes, garlic and thyme and let them cook on for five minutes.
  • Add the cabbage, season with salt & pepper and cook on for ten minutes.
  • Purée three-quarters of the beans in a mixer with a little of their liquid.
  • Add the bean water and the bean purée and stir it all together.
  • Cook this thick mix for an hour–stirring it regularly to stop it sticking and burning.
  • Add a little of the stock each time you stir it.
  • This is meant to be a thick soup–up to you how loose to make it–just be careful not to dilute the depth of taste.
  • While the soup cooks on sauté the rest of the cabbage to serve as a topping when you present the soup.

  • Keep tasting the soup as you go (you may find yourself doing that anyway!).
  • Serve with a drizzle of good quality olive oil.

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In yesterday’s post I said we’d stopped eating Ismail Merchant’s Claverack Carrot soup, after I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes– “because of the potatoes and carrots in it”.

Shelagh, in a comment this morning, asked whether it was the sugar content of the carrots that was the problem.

Twelve years ago, when I started reading up about the effect of certain foods on blood sugar levels, carrots featured in the “better not to eat” column in much of what I read.

I have avoided them ever since.

Shelagh’s question prompted me to do some research this morning and I found that carrots are “off the hook” now, in terms of the glycemic index and glycemic load–which measure the effect of various foods on blood sugar levels.

Debunking the carrot myth
Raw or cooked, carrots are good for you and they won’t send your blood glucose on a roller coaster ride. End of story. Why? Well, not only are they a low GI food (41), they have very few carbs. In fact, to get a hefty portion of carbs from carrots you’d have to crunch through at least 5 cups or 750 g (about 1½ lb) at a sitting – a pretty awesome achievement even for carrot lovers.

[From GI News the newsletter of the Glycemic Foundation]

Their GL–glycemic load or carbohydrate per portion–-is very low.

In other words they are OK for diabetics–-eaten in moderation as with everything!

I have been a bit behind the curve on this and it’s good to catch up!

Regular potatoes though are definitely NOT off the hook–in particular mashed potatoes and chips (fries).

Sadly Ismail’s recipe for carrot and ginger soup is still “off the menu” for me!

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