Mar 25, 2010

Moroccan Carrot Soup

One of my favorite times of the week is when I sit down on the weekend and plan out what we're eating for the next 7 days.  During the week breakfast and lunch are pretty standard, but dinner and dessert I can do whatever.  It's so freeing and fun.

Last weekend when I sat down to plan I had my newly arrived Bon Appetit in hand.  I've definitely been enjoying cooking from The Art of Simple Food, but it was nice to have something fresh and new, and April's issue is full of great recipes.  One that caught my eye right away was this Moroccan Carrot Soup.  There is something about carrot soup that sounds just a bit intriguing, and I loved the idea of branching out beyond the flavor palate we've been enjoying lately to try a Moroccan inspired dish.

I say it's freeing, but if my exciting ideas are too out of the ordinary I usually have to "sell" the dinner to Matt.  So,  I must admit, when I told him that we were having Moroccan Carrot Soup this week he went "blah" and made a disgusted look on his face.  To sweeten the deal I mentioned adding sausage on the side and although that sounded better I think deep down he was still skeptical.

The soup came together wonderfully.  And it has a rich flavor and creamy texture that would make me wonder if the base really was carrots if I didn't know better.  That is until you looked at it, what a beautiful vibrant orange!  Really, I don't have a bias to orange food (see here or here)...its just that time of year.

Also it was an easy weeknight meal and paired with local sausage from the market and homemade biscuits it was a dinner even the skeptic wanted more of.

Moroccan Carrot Soup
adapted from Bon Appetit April 2010

2 tablespoons butter (1/4 stick)
1 cup large white onion, chopped (1/2 onion)
1 pound large carrots, peeled and chopped (4 large carrots)
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used organic, low-sodium)
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of allspice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add chopped onion and saute 2 minutes.  Mix in chopped carrots.  Add broth and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, 15-20 minutes.

If using, stir cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant; let cool.  Finely grind seeds with mortar and pestle.  Set aside.

Once the carrots are tender, remove soup from the heat and puree in food processor (or blender) in batches until most if it is combined and pureed (a couple larger carrot pieces are okay as they give the soup more texture).  Return to the same pan and over a very low simmer whisk in honey, lemon juice and all spice.  Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls.  Drizzle yogurt over the top and sprinkle generously with freshly ground cumin.  (If your not using the cumin you could try a little pepper, or cinnamon might also be good.  I would start with a small amount and add more as desired.)

Stats: Serves 4
Time: This probably took 45 minutes start to finish, but I also have a super small food processor so had to puree in very small batches.  If you have either a regular or immersion blender it would take about 10 minutes less.
Local Ingredients: I used carrots, onion and honey from local farms.  And the lemon juice was from a lemon in the front yard.

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