Saturday, January 15, 2011

What's Up Doc? : Spicy Roasted Carrot Soup

Bugs Bunny would be so proud!  So would my friend April, who asked me to put up something that isn't loaded with cheese and/or meat and/or butter.

When I told my mom I was working on a carrot soup recipe, she said "you don't really hear of people doing carrot soup these days." Well, that's a shame. It's rich, creamy, delicious, healthy, and pretty easy. It's a nice lunch with a salad or sandwich, and a great use for that handful of carrots rolling around in your refrigerator crisper drawer. It's also a lovely first course for a fancy fall or winter menu...

This recipe is great for doing ahead or in stages. Like most soups, the flavor improves over time. Roasting the carrots with olive oil and honey concentrates their flavor and sweetness and makes for a fantastic finished product. You can roast the carrots a day or two ahead (pick an evening when dinner is on the stove top and the oven is free - multitask!) and keep them in the fridge until you want to finish the soup. The finished soup will separate after sitting in the fridge, but you can just whisk it up and reheat it.

I roast the carrots low and slow to not only help coax out extra flavor, but to keep from over-caramelizing (aka burning) the natural sugars. Caramelized = good. Burnt = bad.

Ready, go! (if you don't want it spicy, just check out the variation at the bottom)

For about 4 one-cup servings

Spicy Roasted Carrot Soup:

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2Tablespoons honey (I used a raw honey)

1 tsp Sriracha (asian chile-garlic sauce. You can find it anywhere. There's a rooster on the bottle)- more or less depending on your tolerance of heat

1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder

1/4 tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1lb carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces - DO NOT use "baby carrots"

1 small white onion, quartered

1 can chicken broth

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup half and half

Preheat oven to 325.
heat olive oil, honey, sriracha, and 5 spice powder in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat, stirring, until well blended (the spices may foam a bit).

If only you could smell this- well, I guess if you make it you will...

Add the carrots and onion, salt & pepper, and toss to coat. Place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

Thought I'd toss in a "before roasting" pic.

The vegetables should be soft and lightly browned.

Heck, if you don't want soup, just eat them this way!

Let the roasted veggies cool, then transfer them, along with any juices in the pan, to a blender. Add the Chicken broth and coconut milk and puree till smooth. You may need to add up to 1/2 cup of water if it's too thick. I did, and it didn't diminish the flavor one bit.

Transfer the puree to a medium saucepan over medium low heat, stir in the cream, and heat through. Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve. And that's all there is to it, kids!

So good you'll think it's bad for you! But it's not!

You could top this off with a little chopped cilantro and maybe some homemade croutons (cube some bread, toss it in a hot skillet with some melted butter and a bit of chinese 5 spice and a pinch of salt until golden and crispy).

*Sriracha doesn't just add heat, but flavor too. If you leave it out, add 3 or 4 unpeeled garlic cloves to the pan with the carrots. Peel them before pureeing.

*to take this vegetarian, use vegetable broth but omit the onion (canned vegetable broth is onion-y enough). Leave out the cream and use your choice of either extra broth, extra coconut milk, or almond milk. 

*Try substituting curry powder for the Chinese five spice  - SO GOOD!

The variations will give you a different flavor altogether, but still a delicious soup!

Go give it a try - hope you enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment