Carrot Soup with Sausage Hash & Pesto
I feel that soup is underrated. I think it's because people assume it's too simple, or they, themselves put too little effort into soup-making which causes its reputation to be associated with boringness. But if you take some extra time and put in a little extra effort, you can make something that not only tastes better, but wows us with textures, flavors and details that have, in the category of soup, otherwise fallen by the wayside. This creamy carrot soup alone is delicious. It's sexy texture is like velvet, but when you add the smallest of details, like a chunky, sausage hash and a homemade pesto, everybody wins! And soup takes its rightful place back up high on the kitchen pedestal.
Carrot Soup with Sausage & Pesto
670 g carrots
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
300 g Butternut squash (skin on)
350 g leeks
1,5 L stock of choice
1/2 t salt
1 t Italian seasoning
250 ml soy cream
2 sausages (Italian variety or fresh bratwurst....)
50 g leeks
1 t butter
1 t oil
pepper - check first before salting
25 g basil leaves
3 g garlic
2 T toasted pine nuts
1/8 t salt
lots of fresh ground pepper
1/2 T lemon juice
8 T good quality olive oil (but not a bitter olive oil)
about 2 handfuls of fresh grated parmesan cheese
Begin by boiling your stock so it's ready to go when needed.
Weigh and set apart the amount of carrots & leeks needed for the hash that goes on top of this soup. Now you can cut the amount needed for the soup. Cut the carrots & squash in uniform pieces, so they will cook evenly. I cut the carrots in rounds that were about a 1/4 of an inch thick (a little bigger than 1/2 cm). Do the same with the squash. Cut the leeks in rounds as well. Their size matters less as they cook faster and it will all be puréed in the end.
Heat up a pan with 2 T butter and 2 T olive oil, add the carrots and cook for 5-10 minutes on medium heat stirring regularly. Add the squash some salt & pepper and keep cooking for another 3-5 minutes. Add your leeks and cook with a lid for about 10 minutes stirring regularly and letting the condensation drip back into the pot. Add the Italian seasoning, the heated up stock and s&p. Cook covered for as long as it takes for the carrots to be very soft. About 20-30.
While that is cooking, in a proper blender, cuisinart, magi mix or a mortar & pestle, place the garlic and pine nuts and pulse/grind until it's the texture of coarse sand. Then add your basil, s&p and repeat until the herbs are small. You do not want to over mix or over pulse. It will heat up the basil and can ruin the flavor of the pesto. Run the machine and add the oil. Once combined, turn off the machine and mix by hand the cheese and lemon juice.
Squeeze the sausage out of its casing. Wash your hands and then begin cutting the remaining carrot and leek in very small cubes. Heat up a pan with 1 t olive oil and 1 t butter on medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the sausage. While it is cooking, use a masher (for making mashed potatoes) and mash the sausage until the pieces are very small, broken apart from each other and fully cooked through. Be careful when mashing, the oil/butter will be hot. Then remove the sausage with a slotted spoon or any tool that will help keep the liquid in the pan. Return the pan to the heat and cook the carrots. If they are cut very small like the size of a pea, they will need to cook for about 3-5 minutes with the lid on. Whatever their size, cook them until almost fully cooked through. Then add the leeks and cook for another couple of minutes until they are both fully cooked through. Add the sausage back to the pan and season it with pepper, but check if the salt is necessary. Some sausage is very salty.
Finally, purée the soup with a hand blender or a normal blender being very careful as it will be hot. Add the cream to the soup and check the seasoning before serving. Serve however you like but make sure you put a couple of T of hash and a couple teaspoons of the pesto on top.