Thursday, February 27, 2014

Curried Coconut Carrot Soup

I've been on a both a curry and coconut kick lately (what a perfect pair!), leaving my freezer still bursting with the fruits of my labor. I tend to cycle through culinary phases, moving on once I've saturated my taste buds. Luckily for me, curry is a such a broad category that I've managed to keep my interest piqued while exploring a variety of curry dishes. Perhaps it's because I enjoy the convenience of this delicious spice blend or because I'm trying to forget I love the frozen north, but it seems scarcely a day has gone by recently without a curry-laced meal hitting my plate.

And it's for good reason, because as this experiment continues to prove, curry is a root vegetable's best friend. Curry spices are warm and inviting, but vibrant and interesting, elevating what could be a plain and heavy dish into an exciting meal. There's no great revelation in this recipe, but the infusion of coconut from the cooking oil and coconut milk adds a subtle extra touch that makes this a little more special than your average curried coconut soup (and there are a lot of recipes out there). Coconut on top of coconut is extra rich and luxurious and allows the soup to stand up to plenty of heat if you like to load it up with hot sauce, as I do (I highly recommend Chipotle Tabasco here). Full-fat coconut milk is a balanced choice, but you can opt for the light variety if you must save calories, or even coconut cream for an over-the-top version.

Curried Coconut Carrot Soup
adapted from The Kitchn
serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
6 cups carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped
1 quart cups vegetable or chicken stock
One 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly chopped ginger root
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Yogurt, for garnish (optional)
Cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Hot sauce, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot and add the onions. Sweat the onions on medium heat for about 7 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and coconut milk. Add the ginger, curry powder and chili flakes. Put a lid on the pot and cook until the carrots are softened, about 10 or 15 minutes.

2. When carrots are soft, carefully blend the soup in batches in a blender (use a towel to hold the lid down firmly) or use an immersion hand blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with yogurt, cilantro, and hot sauce, if desired.

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