Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Liquid Gold

Let's be clear: I like carrots - and - I like carats. The more the better. That's as true for diamonds as it is for soup. This luscious, spicy carrot soup uses more than a pound. It would make a wonderful starter for your Passover or Easter meal - and, frankly, it makes a mighty fine weeknight meal all on it own. Round it out with a nice, crisp salad and you can have dinner on the table in under an hour.

The finished soup will be pureed, so no need to fuss with the slicing and dicing here - a rough chop will do for everything.

Cream-free Creamy Carrot Soup:
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of leeks, coarsely chopped, white and pale green parts only
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped onion
  • pinch of Kosher salt and a generous grating of fresh black pepper
  • 1 full pound of carrots, plus two additional carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small yukon gold potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • two 14.5 oz. cans of low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
  • one 14.5 oz. can of low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. good quality curry powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
  • dash of ground white pepper, optional
  • grating of fresh nutmeg, optional
  • optional - a tsp. of honey to finish the soup, if desired
For garnish:
  • some non-fat plain Greek yogurt, or fat-free sour cream
  • some chopped fresh parsley and or chopped fresh dill
  • a wedge of fresh lemon
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium high heat and add the leeks, shallot, onions, a pinch of salt and a grating of fresh black pepper. Saute, stirring, until wilted and tender, but not brown - about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the ground coriander, curry powder and a dash of cayenne pepper, if desired. Saute one minute, stirring. Add the chicken and vegetable broths, the carrots, potatoes and a pinch of white pepper and some fresh nutmeg, if desired. Stir to combine. Raise the heat and bring the soup to the boil. Then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are fork-tender.

Remove from heat and puree using an immersion blender. (Alternately, the soup can be pureed, in batches, using a food processor or traditional blender. Be careful, its hot!) Return the soup to the heat and re-warm, if necessary. Taste the soup for seasoning, adding more of whatever you like. If you prefer a sweeter soup, you may add the teaspoon of honey now. If you'd like a bit of acid, squirt in a dash of fresh lemon. Stir to combine. When ready to serve, ladle the soup into a serving vessel and garnish with a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt and a dusting of chopped fresh parsley and dill. Serve the soup with a wedge of lemon and enjoy!

As written, this recipe will yield 6 servings.

Some words of wisdom about the spices ... just because I've called for ground coriander here, doesn't mean you have to use it. If you don't have ground coriander, and won't use it otherwise, do not go out and buy a jar of it. This is a tremendously forgiving soup and will adapt well to any spices you have or enjoy. I happen to like the combination of curry and coriander, and my spice collection is extensive enough to warrant its own cabinet ... but that's just me. If you prefer a soup of the milder variety, feel free to skip the cayenne as well. Ditto for the honey at the end. The need for it will largely depend on how sweet your carrots are and your own personal preference. Sometimes I add the honey, sometimes I leave it out.

Experiment, use this recipe as a guide, and do as you see fit. However you choose to spice your soup, I assure you the results will be magnificent. Whatever you do, be sure to include the Greek yogurt, fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon for garnish. The yogurt will add a marvelous richness to the dish and the herbs/lemon will keep everything bright and happy.

Bon appetit!


doggybloggy said...

right up my alley - and since I am a soup-o-holic right now - even better!

Michele said...

I have to send this soup recipe to my mother. She is a total carrot freak! So much so that when - was about 8 years old, she ate so many carrots that she turned her skin orange. She will love this!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Guaranteed to cure what ails you, doggy! :)

I had it for dinner last night and it was so good I'm going to have it again tonight!

The Diva on a Diet said...

LOL Michele - I've heard that can happen. Yikes! Really, its one of my absolute favorites. Haven't made it in ages and I'd almost forgotten how good it is. :)

Heavenly Housewife said...

“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond.”--Mae West :)

words words words said...

It's weird, I LOVE raw carrots and cannot stand cooked carrots. However, I love that this soup gets pureed so there is no dicing. What a relief!

Missy said...

Looks delicious! I will have to try that!

Daniel said...

I'm looking forward to trying this! Great that you give some extra commentary on modification ideas. I always look for that in recipes and I rarely find it.

Thanks for sharing!

Casual Kitchen

Cookie Brochette said...

It's beautiful and sounds really easy. I dig carrots, too. And carats.

Dianne1216 said...

I'm going to try to make this tonight. Looks so good...just have to tweak it a touch to vegan-ize it. ;-)

The Diva on a Diet said...

Heavenly Housewife - truer words were never spoke! LOL

words words words - I get that ... the husband hates carrots in all forms, but he loves this soup. Maybe you'd dig it too? :)

Missy - thanks!

Daniel - thanks for saying that. I often fear that I add too much commentary to my recipes ... its nice to have the positive feedback. Thank you!

Cookie B. - couldn't be easier ... though I'm not sure you'll be able to adapt it and make it *tiny*! ;)

Di - good point! I should have noted that this can easily be made vegetarian or vegan. Switch the broth, add soy yogurt ... and call it dinner! :)

pixelgal said...

I can vouch for this delicious soup as the Diva shared it with me many moons ago. It's so delicious and easy to make. Can't wait to try it with these twists. And vote for the Diva's peep!

Juliet said...

Yum. That looks wonderful! :) I love both kinds of carrots too by the way. :)

The Diva on a Diet said...

Pixelgal - thanks for the endorsement! Its the same as my old recipe ... just added a bit of spice this time. :)

Juliet - I think its official ... carrot and carat love is strong! LOL

Tangled Noodle said...

I'm torn - I love creamy soups and this looks marvelous but I really don't like carrots. But then again, it does have a potato in it and 'taters make everything better! 8-)

Deb said...

Looks heavenly - I love cream of carrot soup. There is a small local restaurant that always has this as a soup of the day - I need to make yours to compare - I've been wanting his recipe so maybe this is it!