My kitchen is very well-stocked, but there are days I return from work to a hungry dog, a pile of junk mail, and not so much to choose from in the refrigerator. This is one of those days.
I'm going out of town Friday and I refuse to do a major shop this close to departure. I also pick up my first CSA box-o-goodness tomorrow evening, so it's time to make due with what's immediately available. And what's available is a bag of carrots.
I look to the larder for onion and garlic and note that the spice cabinet is full. The herbs out back look terrific this early in the season, and I decide to make use of the almost-too-old serrano peppers hiding the refrigerator's produce drawer. It's soup time.
Carrot soup has become a standby in my repertoire. It can be dressed up or down, served hot or cold, garnished according to the season (or what's lurking in your pantry). Don't knock it. Carrot soup is a beautiful thing.
Note: Sadly my camera is not a beautiful thing. It died mid-photo session. This means no photos of tonight's featured blog entree. If any of the "peeling carrots" shots I took initially took work out, they may end up illustrating this entry. Wish me luck! I need an easy fix.
Tonight's Carrot Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 very large onion, chopped
2 serrano peppers, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
about 1.5 pounds carrots, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons white rice
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
salt and pepper (freshly ground)
approximately 6 cups of water, but use vegetable stock if you have it
Warm the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, peppers, parsley and rice and cook until the onion is soft, about 6 minutes. Add the spices, salt and pepper, and cook another 6 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, consider a garnish. Not just a pretty garnish, but something with substance. A red onion relish, a blob of creme fraiche, a chile butter, or chopped parsley and cilantro with a squeeze of lime juice.
When the soup is done, puree until smooth. I love my immersion blender, but it doesn't puree things to the velvety consistency of the upright. It also doesn't explode like the upright, leaving me to clean even more of the kitchen and dress burns. Something to consider.
Taste the soup for salt and serve with the garnish of your choice.