Friday, February 24, 2012

A Month of Soups: Spicy Carrot Soup and Rt. 66

Lil Bro did the big trip he was so psyched about. You know, the trip you want to take, too. The ultimate road trip: Route 66. No Mustang, but still fun.

He began in Illinois and finished in California, just like you’re supposed to. He had a wonderful time and took close to a thousand pictures. He has a pared-down version that he presents to groups near his small Iowa town.

So, loooooonnnngggg story short(er), on his way home by another route, he called me from some place in northern California, or Utah or Colorado, or some other state, and asked me how to make Spicy Carrot Soup. He had stopped at some diner and it was the cook’s specialty, I guess. He wasn’t going to try it, but the waitress convinced him to be adventuresome. That’s what his whole trip was about! So he did, and he loved it.

He left without asking for the recipe (which I suggested he do as soon as he got home), because he was sure his cooking sister could tell him how to do it even though he was unable to identify the spices in it. Brother! I mean, literally, Brother!

So I did what any good sister would do: I googled “spicy carrot soup”. 4,680,000 hits! Okey dokey. I copied and pasted 9 of them that were different enough from one another so he might find one that would come close to his memory of the soup.

Meantime, now he’s got me intrigued by this. Spicy Carrot Soup? I’ll bet I could make up one, too. So here is my version of a Spicy Carrot Soup that I also sent to my brother. I not only used spices, but I also used parsnips, which are a spicy root vegetable. Try it. Compare it to the millions on the Internet, and let me know how many tongues up YOU give it!

Spicy Carrot Soup (serves 6-8)

6 large carrots

2 parsnips

1 large bell pepper, seeded and quartered

1 large onion, quartered

2 celery stalks, no trimming necessary

4 cloves garlic, in skins

2 T olive oil

6 cups vegetable broth, divided

1 cup buttermilk

1 t curry powder

1 t fresh ginger

½ t whole cloves

1¼ cup coconut milk, divided

cilantro sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°. Rub carrots, parsnips, bell pepper, onion, and celery with olive oil. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet along with garlic cloves. Roast for 20 minutes until veggies show some brown and are fork-tender. Set aside. When cool, squeeze garlic from skins and discard skins.

Put ½ cup broth in blender or food processor and add roasted vegetables. Puree and strain through colander to remove skins and large chunks. Process in batches.

Combine remaining broth and strained vegetables in large pot. Add buttermilk and spices. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup coconut milk. Add remaining coconut milk to the broth mixture. Bring again to slow simmer. Fish out the cloves. Pour hot soup into bowls and drizzle the reserved coconut milk on top and garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve immediately.

DH’s Rating: 3.7 Tongues Up. This soup seemed sweet to him and there were no chunks to gnaw on. He asked where the meat was. I threw him a chicken leg so he’d stop whining.

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