Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Little Bit of Carrot Soup

It's funny how a little bit of this and a little bit of that can come together to create something entirely exquisite. For the past three days, my colleague has been eating curried chicken salad for lunch. While the rich, creamy, deep yellow color has faded a little by the day, my desire for curry has increased exponentially. Mix that "little bit" with the fact that I picked up my CSA delivery of organic vegetables this afternoon, and they just happened to have extra carrots just pried from the ground yesterday. "Take what you'll eat." With a family of four, and only two of them being of the carrot persuasion (the other two being of the kibble and fresh meat persuasion), how many carrots could I take in good conscience?

On the way home I imagined a carrot soup that would chase the chill from my legs, the fog from my brain, and the boringness of the same old carrot-topped salad from my routine. I could almost taste it, but I wondered how I could make it. These days, you don't have to wonder very long. The solution was soon at my fingertips with a few taps on my iPhone.

Allrecipes.com has an amazing recipe called Curried Carrot Soup. The only credit I can take is that I put aside the quiz I had to write, the clothes I had to pack for tomorrow, the lunches I had to make, and the laundry I should have put away to make this simple, delectable meal. I also had to make a few substitutions as this was not a "stop at the grocery store for ingredients" type of day.

It brought me to tears. Seriously, eyes burning, I cried as I sauteed one chopped onion in two tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Adding two tablespoons of curry intensified my curry craving as the aroma flooded the room. Our housemate even surfaced from his studies to say, "How do you expect me to get my work done when you're cooking something like that?" I fed a few pounds of carrots to the food processor and poured the perfect little carrot circles into the soup pot. Once well-coated in carmelized onions and curry, I added four cups of chicken broth. The recipe called for vegetable broth, but maybe the little bit of that made all the difference. After 20 minutes of simmering, just long enough to pack lunch, I used our Vitamix to puree the carrots and onions. It probably would have saved time to pour the puree into another bowl until everything was smooth as silk, but I opted to pour the puree back into the simmering pot and play a fishing game with a slotted spoon until I had almost all of the carrot floaters captured. I added one more cup of water, gave it a stir, and set it to simmer.

Just in time too. The garage door opened, and in walked that husband of mine. I assumed that the intoxicating smell of curry would wash the grime of the day from his mind, and he would instantly be transported to culinary heaven. "Want some carrot soup?"

"I'm not really a carrot soup kind of person," was his reply. Thankfully the joy of the process and the hope of the outcome was strong enough to prevent a girl hissy fit. And because he was hungry, and it was ready, he gave it a shot.

It was definitely the best soup I have ever made. And it may even be the best soup I've ever had. Creamy, rich, spicy, and sweet in every spoonful warming the body and spirit. All from a little bit of this and a little bit of that. And even the husband liked it.

Curried Carrot Soup
* 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 tablespoon curry powder
* 2-3 pounds carrots, chopped
* 4 cups chicken broth
* 1 cup water, or as needed

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion until tender and translucent. Stir in the curry powder. Add the chopped carrots, and stir until the carrots are coated. Pour in the vegetable broth, and simmer until the carrots are soft, about 20 minutes.
2. Transfer the carrots and broth to a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour back into the pot, and thin with water to your preferred consistency.
3. Taste, close eyes, and smile!
Adapted from allrecipes.com.

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