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Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: three-sesame, sweet potato and carrot soup

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them and cook up a feast.

"The humble carrot doesn't often play the starring role in main dishes, but carrot soup is one of the best exceptions," says Whitney Ariss, the merchandising guru at Marczyk Fine Foods. And yet, she admits, "most carrots soup fail to satisfy."

But not this one.

Ariss, who created today's recipe for carrot soup, insists that her version rises above the rest. "Most carrot soups are usually too bogged down by heavy cream and butter to even taste like carrots, or they're so light and refreshing that they don't really work as a meal, but I'd like to think this recipe is the perfect compromise of the two," she says, adding that the "soup has a nice, creamy consistency and a thick body, thanks to the sweet potatoes and the addition of tahini." And the soy sauce, she says, "gives it a complex, meaty, umami flavor."

She also encourages you to expand your collection of Asian pantry items. "I would highly recommend investing in all the Asian ingredients that are in the recipe, mainly because they're great staples that are found in lots of different Asian dishes, and they make this soup incredibly flavorful and unique."

As for wine, she and Barb recommend the Kung Fu Girl Riesling from Charles Smith.

Three-Sesame, Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup serves 8


2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large yellow onion, diced 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced 1/4 cup mirin or white wine 8 cups vegetable stock 1/4 cup tahini 2 tablespoons soy sauce


Black sesame seeds Sriracha sauce Toasted sesame oil

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1. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onions in olive oil until translucent, about 8 minutes. 2. Add potatoes, carrots and ginger and cook until ginger is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with mirin, then add stock. 3. Raise the heat to high and bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until potatoes and carrots are very tender, about 40 minutes. 4. In a small bowl or measuring cup, add a little of the hot liquid to the tahini and stir to dissolve. Add mixture to soup and puree with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy (alternatively, you can puree the soup in stages in a food processor or blender). 5. Serve with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and a drizzle of oil and sriracha sauce to garnish.

For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Pete's blog and Marczyk Fine Wines.

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