Soup Sundays – Curried Carrot Soup

Along with the Brunch Series, I am starting Soup Sundays.  This winter I started making soups on Sunday afternoons.  I like to take leftovers, or fresh ingredients that need to be used and make them into a delicious soup – the perfect Sunday night meal for those chilly winter afternoons.  I decided to post this little ritual for all of you to share.  Not only is making soup a nice, relaxing way to spend the afternoon, but then you have delicious leftovers to eat all week.  If you double the recipes you could free some as well.

Additionally, I’m not sure if I have adequately expressed my love of carrots.  I do love carrots.  They have to be on my top 5 of all vegetable options.  Of course, in America, we are often resigned to eating them raw with Ranch Dressing.  Gross.  I don’t not approve. (Speaking of which, if you have never seen Saturday Night Live’s skit on Ranch dressing, you much check it out here.)   There are so many better ways to utilize such a versatile veggie.

Carrots are actually a root vegetable, related to the potato and the dandelion.  Which means they are hearty, starchy, and packed with vitamins.  It also means there are many, many different types of carrots.  Did you know you can actually get a purple carrot?  No lie.  Check them out the next time you go to the farmer’s market.

I wanted to make a soup that highlighted my love of carrots and their versatility.  This soup is a great example of how carrots can rise above Ranch dressing and even complement Eastern spices.  In this recipe, I use crushed garlic and ginger because I like how they lend flavor to the soup.  I feel as though they permeate the soup better in this form.  Of course, you can just as easily substitute minced garlic and grated ginger.  I also use finely ground black pepper for the same reason.  My favorite is Tellicherry black pepper from The Spice House.

Curried Carrot Soup – A Delectable Endeavors Original

2 Tbl vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

4 cups of roughly chopped carrot

4-5 cloves garlic

1 Tbl grated ginger

1 Tbl of your favorite curry paste, or 2 tsp. of your favorite curry powder (I used red curry paste)

3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

1 14 oz can of coconut milk (I often use the lowfat kind and it works just fine)

1 Tbl lime juice

soy sauce to taste

Heat oil in a dutch oven or other large saucepan.  Add garlic and ginger.  Saute until fragrant (only about a minute).

Add onions and saute for a few minutes.  Add carrots and season generously with salt and pepper.  Let cook until they begin to soften.

Make a small space in the middle of the pan and add curry.   Let it cook a bit, then mix in the rest of the vegetables.  Pour stock over curry and vegetable mixture.  Let simmer until all of the vegetables are softened and cooked through.

Add coconut milk and reduce heat to low.  Let cook and combine for as long as you would like.  When you are ready to serve, add lime juice and soy sauce to taste.  Either let soup cool and blend it in a blender, or do what I do and take a hand blender to the pan.  I like to leave my soup a little chunky.

To serve, you can reserve a little of the coconut milk and swirl in the soup for a nice touch.

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Moroccan Spiced Carrots

I’ve been experimenting with different ways to incorporate more vegetables into my diet lately.  After all, we are supposed to have 4-5 servings a day and I’m not sure I’m getting that.  After searching on the internet for some recipe ideas I stumbled across a recipe for Moroccan-style carrots that intruiged me.

Firstly, let it be known that I love carrots.  Back when I was a picky eater, and vegetables were a four-letter word to me, I was introduced to carrots.  They were one of the first vegetables I instantly liked.  They can be cool and crisp; a refreshing treat with a creamy dip.  Or they can be roasted, tender and complex.  Plus, carrots are one of the vegetables that can actually be better for you after they are cooked.

Now, I know some of you currently picky eaters are out there thinking, “Gross, cooked veggies.  I don’t like mushy, stinky cooked carrots.”  And this is where I say you are WRONG!  There are a couple of main reasons I have found some people claim they don’t like cooked vegetables.  1) They have only had badly cooked vegetables (ie: overcooked, dry, or mushy) or 2) They have not tried seasoning their vegetables.  Well, here’s my tips to ensure you will have delicious, healthy, nutritious carrots for dinner.

Step 1:  Cutting the vegetables.  It is very important that all of your vegetable pieces are approximately the same size.  Do not skip this step or you will have some mushy, overdone carrots, and some hard, underdone carrots.  If you cut them up so they are all approximately the same size, everything will cook evenly and they will all be done at approximately the same time.

Step 2:  Do not cook vegetables for long!  Veggies (unless very starchy) rarely take longer than 20 minutes to cook.  You should be watching vegetables carefully anytime you cook them because they will go from almost done to overdone fast.  Make sure to keep an eye on them and test them with a fork for tenderness.  Take your vegetables off the heat the second BEFORE you think they are done.  This is because all food cooks for a short while after you remove it from the heat.

Adapted from Pikelet & Pie

Approximately 2 cups of carrots, trimmed, washed and peeled.

1 1/2 Tbl olive oil

1 Tbl butter

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp corriander

1/4 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and butter in a pan over medium heat.  While the oil and butter are heating through, combine all of the spices together in a bowl.  Once the butter is completely melted, add carrots.  Cook until almost fork tender, approximately 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your carrots.   Add the spice mixture to the carrots and cook for a couple of minutes are coated and the spices are slightly toasted.  Turn heat off and splash lemon juice over carrots.  Cover with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Mix well and serve warm.