I instinctively crave root vegetables at the first signs of chilly weather, as if the added calories from parsnips and yams will prepare my body for a long slumber during the bitter months. Though I can’t hibernate, I can make soups, which so often take the sting from winter’s bite. As such, on many wintry nights my husband and I can be found in the kitchen whipping up hardy soups made of onions and starchy tubers.
It is in my favor that carrots are in abundance this time of year, for they make the most delicious, warming soups – as you will find when using my recipe. With the added turmeric, the soup turns a vibrant color, reminiscent of balmy weather and beach towels. The cooked spices add a savory flavor, sending one momentarily to India’s hot streets in summer.
4 cups broth, vegetable or chicken (water and low sodium bouillon may be substituted)
2 large carrots, sliced
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
chopped cilantro (optional garnish)
homemade croutons (optional garnish)
1. In a pot, boil the carrots in the broth on medium heat until tender. While you wait, grind the turmeric, coriander, and cumin with a mortar and pestle.
2. Once tender, transfer the carrots and broth to a food processor and pulse the mixture until incredibly smooth. If your food processor is on the smaller side, you may work in batches.
3. While the carrots and broth are preoccupied, heat the olive oil in the soup pot and add the minced garlic. Stir the garlic a few times before adding the ground spices. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spices are very fragrant (about 30 seconds). You may add a little more olive oil if the mixture becomes too paste-like.
4. When your spices are ready (take care not to burn them), add the carrot soup back to the pot, stirring well to combine the flavors. Add the lemon juice to the pot and allow the soup to simmer for a few more minutes, stirring often.
5. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and top with chopped cilantro if desired. For an added treat, make homemade croutons before the soup is finished by browning cubed bread on the stove top with a little olive oil or butter.