It’s that time of year, friends. There’s a singular nip in the air most mornings. My cat wants to spend every waking moment roaming down by the river. I bought a long sleeved shirt and broke out an extra blanket for the bed. Finally, today, I turned the heat on. Autumn is here, and it’s soup time.
It’s also cold season. My husband caught a cold and passed it to me. I promptly passed it back to him, worse than I received it. Yes, soup was needed in this house. Still feeling lethargic, I wanted to make a soup that was easy, tasty, and packed with nutrients. Carrots, then! Carrots, besides bearing bright-orange beta carotinoids, are chock full of vitamins A, C (goodbye, colds!), K, potassium, thiamin, niacin, fiber, plus other good stuff. Coupled with ginger, which has anti-inflammatory properties and boosts immune system performance, I figured the carrots in this soup would hit my cold with a knockout punch. I threw in some other warming spices, including a healthy amount of my garam masala to give the soup a gentle, warming spice. Yum! To contrast with the aromatic spices in the soup, I made a simple cilantro lime puree to drizzle on top. It was great, but if you’re not feeling the effort, just sprinkle on some chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Or drizzle on some sesame oil. Whatever speaks to you.
The cilantro-lime purée spoke to me.
Both soup and purée tasted great too. I liked the minimal effort they took, and I loved getting to break out my immersion blender. Do you have one of those? Because if not, you must get one. I have had mine since last Christmas. I kept putting off using it, assuming it would be difficult to clean or a pain to use. Nay, nay – I was wrong. It was easy, it was fun, and it was so easy to clean. If you have one, use it. Use it often. If you don’t, then buy one. They range from $30-$100. It’s worth every penny. I use this Cuisinart (a $30 model), and I am already planning more soups just so I can use it more.
Since I figured this won’t be the only cold I get this season, I made a great big pot of this soup and froze half of it. The great thing about too much soup is getting to put some away for when you need it again. And next time, I’ll have nothing to do but warm it on the stove.
Spicy Carrot Soup with Cilantro-Lime Puree
- 1 T peanut oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1″ piece of ginger, grated
- 4 C water
- 1 1/2 lbs carrots
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1 T soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp garam masala
Wash carrots and peel if using conventional, non-organic carrots. Cut the carrots in 1″ pieces and set aside. Heat peanut oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, ginger, and garlic. Saute until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally to keep the garlic from burning. When the onions are soft, add the carrots to the pot and pour in the water. Add the salt, red pepper, soy sauce, garam masala, lime juice and sesame oil– reserving the lime zest. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the soup stays at an active simmer. Cook this way for 20-30 minutes, until the carrots are easily pierced with a fork and soft. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. I like to leave a bit of texture but remove any chunks of solid vegetable. If you want a silkier texture, puree the soup in batches in a conventional blender. When the soup is blended, stir in the lime zest and taste for seasoning. Add salt, if needed, until the carrot flavor is bright. Serve drizzled with cilantro-lime puree.
- 1 1/2 C cilantro leaves, washed and packed
- juice of 1/2 a lime
- 2 T peanut or other neutral tasting oil
- pinch of salt
Using an immersion blender, purée the ingredients together until they are smooth. Add a bit more oil or water as needed to achieve a thin consistency that is easily drizzled.
Makes about 1 C of purée.