Spicy Carrot Soup
My first childhood memory was pulling up a garden carrot, washing it off with a hose and munching down. Carrots were my favorite youthful treat! Grocery store carrots just don’t seem the same nowadays. However, organic carrots sold by some grocers have a sweetness reminiscent of those days. We of course grow our own organic carrots and when the evenings dip below forty degrees we like to harvest the remaining garden carrots. At the same time of year this spicy soup warms and gratifies.
Wild carrots have their origins in southwestern Asia and Europe. It dates back at least to Babylon in the eighth century BC. The seeds and leaves were first used as aromatic herbs. A red and purple carrot was brought in its modern form by Arabs to the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean countries. It was the Dutch though, dating back to the fourteenth century who cultivated the orange carrot, as we know it today. It is rich in beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant and a source of vitamin A necessary for healthy skin along with other essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes that aid in digestion. They reduce the risk of colon cancer, help regulate blood sugar, are high in fiber, may reduce cholesterol, prevent heart disease, and detoxify the body. Combined with coconut oil, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne and black pepper this soup is a nutritional powerhouse. Did I mention that carrots have a wonderful sweet flavor?
2 tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper or more
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 cups (1 pound) organic carrots, peeled, large diced (save peel for broth)
3 cups vegetable broth (recipe to follow or boxed)
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup fresh orange juice
⅓ cup coconut milk or more
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
1. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent.
2. Add the ginger, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and black pepper. Stir for a minute or two until fragrant.
3. Add the carrots, vegetable broth, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the carrots are tender, about fifteen to twenty minutes.
4. Puree in a blender and return to the saucepan. Add the orange juice, and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer. Adjust the consistency with more coconut milk or vegetable broth if necessary. Taste, Think, Transform with salt, orange juice, and/or cayenne pepper.
5. Sprinkle with the mint and serve hot.
6 black peppercorns, cracked
1 bay leaf
6 parsley stems, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon shallot, minced
2 slices dried porcini mushrooms, washed
1 6x4-inch piece kombu, broken into smaller pieces, washed
1 cup carrot peels or ½ cup small diced carrots
1 cup onion, sliced crosswise
¾ cup celery, one-fourth inch slices of equal width
½ cup roma tomato, small diced
4 ½ cups filtered water
1. Prepare a sachet bag by placing the peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley stems and thyme in cheesecloth and tie together with butchers’ twine. (A tea infuser could be used rather than cheesecloth).
2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Sweat the garlic and shallots over low heat until translucent and fragrant. Turn the heat up to medium high.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and sachet bag. Bring to a boil and reduced to a simmer. Simmer for forty-five minutes to an hour. Taste, Think, Transform by considering if the flavor has been completely extracted. Cook longer if not. Do not add salt.
4. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve. Discard solids.
5. Use immediately or quickly chill in an ice water bath. Refrigerate. May be frozen up to three months.