October 30, 2014

Spicy Carrot Soup

Our office LOVES to eat cook. Every so often, we take on a cooking challenge that focuses on one ingredient. In the past, we've featured lemon, pumpkin, and apple, in sweet and savory forms. This time, the lowly carrot, so often pushed aside as an overlooked, overcooked side, too center stage.

I decided to make a harissa-spiked soup I made years ago for a dinner party. It struck me as something different, a new mix of flavors for our group. And it couldn't be easier!

Okay, there is peeling and chopping to do with those carrots, but I find chopping to be very relaxing. You might disagree, and that's cool. Takes all kinds, right?
It's basically sautéed carrots & leeks, stock, and harissa. So dead simple! Once the carrots of softened, you put half of the soup in a blender and purée it, then add it back to the soup. Adds a nice texture and heft to it.
The original recipe calls for chicken stock, but we have a few vegetarians at work, so I switched to vegetable stock. I've never really used veggie stock before, but it turned out to be just fine. It was a different flavor, but it was still delicious, and some of the vegetarians thought the stock's richness gave the dish a meaty taste, anyway!

Harissa, a spicy pepper sauce popular in Northern African cuisine, is the magic ingredient. But a little goes a long, long way. I ended up adding an extra teaspoon, and it was deemed too spicy for some. I'd stick with just the recommended two!
Carrot hummus!
Carrot ring: EPIC

The next morning, I put the soup in a Thermos and carried it off to our Carrot Gathering. We had a delicious variety of sweet and savory dishes (Carrot ring! Carrot juice! Carrot hummus! Carrot-feta dip! Carrot CAKE!!!), and will be adding some of those recipes to my own repertoire! This outing also solidified this spicy soup as a favorite of mine.
You can put it together in less than 20 minutes, and yet the flavor of this dish is surprisingly complex!
You can get the easy-as-all-getout-recipe here!

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