Annie Somerville’s Carrot Soup with North African Spices

Here is the recipe for my favorite Carrot Soup described under In The Garden.

This recipe appears in Fields of Greens, a fantastic cookbook.  The soup is one of my favorites.
About 5 cups of Vegetable Stock; add 10 thin coins of ginger. (I use Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base made with 3/5 of the recommended base. I do add the ginger coins.)
1 Tablespoon light olive oil
1 medium size yellow onion, thinly sliced, about 1&1/2 cups
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1&1/2 teaspoons cumin seed, toasted & ground (I used already toasted & ground)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
Cayenne pepper
2 pounds carrots, peeled and thinly sliced, about 7 cups
1 medium size white potato or sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup crème fraîche
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Make the stock and keep it warm over low hear.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and add the onion and 1/2 tsp salt.  Sauté over medium heat until it begins to release its juices, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, the cumin, coriander, ginger, and a few pinches cayenne.  Cook until the onion is very soft, about 10 minutes, adding a little stock if it sticks to the pan.

Add the carrots, the potato or sweet potato, 1 tsp salt, and 1 quart stock.  Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the carrots are very tender, about 15 minutes.  Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth, using a little extra stock if needed.  Return to the pot, add the orange juice, and thin with stock to the desired constistency.  Season with salt to taste and, for additional heat, a pinch or two of cayenne.  Garnish each serving with a swirl of crème fraîche and sprinkle with cilantro.

Notes:  I think that the soup is better with a sweet potato, and I use big pinches of cayenne. I also use the hand-blender to just blend in the pot.  


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