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Published August 24, 2011, 12:00 AM

Halgrimson: Put locally grown carrots to use in savory soups

I love carrots. And while the orange vegetables are available year-round, the best ones are locally grown and available now.

By: Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, INFORUM

Only in dreams are carrots as big as bears. – Yiddish saying

I love carrots.

And while the orange vegetables are available year-round, the best ones are locally grown and available now.

Since the carrots in my garden are not even as big as a grasshopper, I’ll have to depend on the farmers markets for my supply, or for the soup recipes listed below.

These soups freeze well for up to three months, which prolongs fall’s bonanza into the autumn months and winter.

Remember when pureeing cooked vegetables to remove them to the processor or blender with a slotted spoon, adding just enough liquid to make a smooth puree. Then return them to the liquid and proceed with the recipe.

Carrots combine well with a variety of herbs such as cilantro and parsley – to which carrots are related – and spices such as cumin, coriander and ginger. And the spices will be more flavorful if they are gently cooked in a little oil along with onions when they are sautéed.

Carrot Coconut Lime Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon chile paste

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large potato, peeled and diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock

1 can (15 ounces) coconut milk

1/4 cup lime juice

chopped fresh cilantro to garnish

Heat oil in a large, heavy pot and add chili paste, cumin and 1 tablespoon of cilantro. Cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add ginger, onion and garlic and cook until onions are softened. Add potatoes and carrots and cook for 5 more minutes.

Pour vegetable broth and coconut milk over cooked vegetables. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Remove pot from heat and stir in lime juice. Cool soup and process in batches until pureed. Refrigerate until chilled. Reheat or serve cold garnished with cilantro. Serves 4.

Carrot Soup

1 tablespoon butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger root

1 pound carrots, peeled, cooked and pureed

1/2 cup light cream

2 to 3 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

pinch of sugar

salt and freshly ground pepper

In a heavy pan, sauté onion until translucent. Add ginger root and cook briefly. Using a processor, purée carrots, adding cream as necessary to make a smooth mixture. Pour into pan with 2 cups of chicken stock, thyme, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and taste for seasoning. If soup seems too thick, add a little more stock. Cover and simmer on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Serves 2.

Carrot Cumin Soup with Toasted Pecans

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 to 3 large carrots, sliced thin

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

2 cups chicken stock

For pecans

2 tablespoons pecans, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan, cook onion in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add carrots, cumin and salt and cook, stirring. Add stock and simmer mixture, covered, until carrots are very tender. Cool soup.

Prepare pecans while carrot soup is simmering:

Toast pecans in the middle of the oven for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant and a shade darker. Toss pecans with butter and salt to taste.

Puree solids in a processor or blender until smooth. Return to pan to reheat, and stir to combine. Serve soup topped with pecans. Makes almost 3 cups to serve 2.

Carrot Yogurt Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 large potato, diced

8 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

6 cups chicken stock

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

yogurt to garnish

Saute onion in butter until softened. Add remaining ingredients except yogurt and simmer covered about 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Cool and puree soup in batches and return to pot. Correct seasoning and serve with a dollop of yogurt on top.

Source: www.epicurious.com<


Readers can reach Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com

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