Potatoes, carrots and tomatoes are mainly what you need to make this classic soup.
To up your ABC soup game, use purple carrots if you can get hold of them. I was thrilled to chance upon some at a neighbourhood market. I was less thrilled with the price of $7 for a bag containing nine rather slim organic purple carrots.
But after tasting them, I was hooked. Purple carrots are incredibly aromatic, crunchy and sweet, with a slightly spicy flavour. The inside of the carrot is golden yellow. The colour comes from anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant.
There are good reasons to eat carrots, going by a 2014 health article – Nutritional And Health Benefits Of Carrots And Their Seed Extracts by Dr Joao Silva Dias, published in the Food and Nutrition Sciences Journal.
Dr Dias wrote that “carrots are enriched with carotenoids, phenolic compounds, polyacetylenes, and vitamins and… may help reduce the risk of some diseases”.
He noted that experimental evidence reports of antioxidative, anti-carcinogenic and immuno-enhancer effects of carrot compounds.
It is said that the orange carrot is derived from a purple carrot root plant, which originated in the 8th century.
Carrot, then, was not just food, it was also prized as a medicinal herb.
The ancient Romans believed the carrot to be a powerful aphrodisiac and “mediaeval European doctors saw the carrot as the Viagra of that day”, wrote food columnist John La Boone in his book, Around The World Of Food: Adventures In Culinary History.
To make the most of my $7, I saved the carrot tops and planted them in soil. The carrot is a taproot and will not grow back once harvested, but by planting the carrot tops, I am hoping they will flower and produce seed. The goal is to grow my own purple carrots.
1. Wash and rinse the carrots thoroughly. Do not peel. Remove root hairs. Set aside.
2. Remove the skin and any visible fat off the chicken carcasses and chicken breasts.
3. Blanch the chicken pieces in a pot of boiling water until there is no visible blood.
4. Drain and rinse the pieces of chicken. Set aside.
5. Bring four litres of water to a boil. Add ginger and white peppercorn. Add blanched pieces of chicken.
6. Add celery and bring soup to a boil.
7. Remove carrot tops. Break carrots into thirds.
8. Add carrots and potatoes to the soup.
9. Once soup comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Then add the onion and tomatoes. Boil for 10 minutes. Soup is ready to serve.
A version of this story first appeared in The New Paper on October 12, 2017, with the headline, ‘Soup up with this nutrient powerhouse’.