Things started out so hopeful. I was in New York last week celebrating my birthday. First stop is always lunch at Bloomingdale’s 40 Carrots restaurant. Starving because we hadn’t eaten since 9:00 am, and it was then 3:00 pm I ordered a carrot soup to start. The carrot soup was a delicious balance between savoury carrots and a hint of sweet orange. The pretzel roll that came on the side was the perfect accompaniment for dipping. I have to recreate this when I get home I thought, how difficult could it be? But how can I do the soup without the pretzel roll, they must go together.
This past week I also attended one of my favourite events, Empty Bowls. Raising money to support Anishnawbe Health Toronto, 11 well known Toronto chefs hand out their own soup creations. Guests fill up their ceramic bowls, donated by potters at the Gardiner museum, and spend the evening eating bowl after bowl of insanely good soup with creative toppings.
Soup was definitely on my mind this week.
The carrot soup I could figure out. Onion, carrots, chicken broth and a bit of orange zest. The pretzel rolls on the other hand took a bit of research. I started researching pretzel rolls and suddenly realized that all the recipes for pretzel rolls call for the addition of gluten. The stuff that everyone is avoiding I would seek out to add chewiness and stretchiness to my pretzel dough. Surprisingly I found it at Loblaws, Bob’s Red Mill makes it!
In an effort to make things more nutritious when I can, I decided I would make the pretzel rolls multigrain. My general rule of thumb is that if it is not a dessert I try to increase the fibre with whole wheat or multrigrain flour and some ground flax.
The pretzels seemed doomed from the start. A dough that needs to rise twice, then get boiled and baked at a high temperature seemed high maintenance. In the middle I had to go pick my son up from a play date so my pretzels rose 3 times. I thought they would come out as rocks but miraculously in the hot oven they fluffed up, formed a crunchy crust while maintaining a chewy centre. A generous sprinkling of Kosher salt on top definitely helped things.
Luckily the soup and pretzel roll have been able to make a repeat performance and now I can enjoy them without going to Bloomingdale’s. It would be ridiculous to travel all the way to New York just for the soup and pretzel roll, right?
Carrot Orange Soup
In a large pot add oil and cook over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until tender but not browned, 3-4 minutes. Add carrots and cover pot. Cook 10 minutes stirring every couple of minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer and cook covered for 1 hour or until carrots are tender. Add orange zest and juice. Stir well. Puree soup in a blender or with a hand held blender. Be careful to not spray yourself as soup will be hot. Cover pot with a kitchen towel while blending to avoid being sprayed.
Soup can be served hot or cold. If serving cold, a dollop of crème fraiche would go nicely.
Makes 6 cups of soup
Multigrain Pretzel Rolls
In a large bowl mix together the flours, flax, yeast, salt and gluten. Add in water and stir so everything comes together to form a dough. Use wet hands as the dough might be sticky and difficult to bring together. Cover loosely with a kitchen hand towel and allow to rise for two hours. Dough should double in size.
With floured hands take small handfuls of dough and create circles by folding sides of dough underneath itself. Place dough balls on a baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for another 20-60 minutes.
When ready to bake place pizza stone in oven and preheat oven to 450. While oven preheats, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add in baking soda and sugar. Be careful, water will boil over when you add in the baking soda and sugar. Dough balls might need to be reshaped as they will have grown in size. Drop 3 balls at a time in boiling water and boil for 30 seconds each side. After boiling remove from water and place dough balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush with egg white and generously sprinkle with Kosher salt.
At this point the dough balls are not pretty. They look like dense misshapen balls of dough but do not loose hope. They will turn into delicious pretzel rolls in the oven.
Place dough balls either directly on pizza stone (sprinkled with flour or cornmeal) or on parchment paper on top of pizza stone or on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes.
Remove pretzel balls from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Keep in airtight container or Ziploc bag and reheat for 5 minutes at 350. Eat with carrot orange soup!
Makes approximately 20 pretzel rolls
Adapted from veggieandthebeastfeast.com