Friday, June 24, 2005


Sorry for the complete lack of postings lately. I'm still cooking as much as ever, but haven't tried too many new recipes. That said, I've just posted three other new entries, so check them out too.

My new pal J, with whom I've recently been doing some canning (strawberry jam, blood-orange marmalade, peaches), gave me this recipe with such enthusiastic recommendation, I had to give it a try, even though I already have a good carrot-potato soup recipe. And it may actually be better than my recipe, though as a trade-off, it's a little more complicated (not that it's at all hard, but there are more ingredients and a few extra steps). The coriander flavor is wonderful and the whole thing tastes nice and spring/summery somehow, the cilantro and celery adding an extra note of brightness. We ate it with salad and a bit of garlic bread and were well pleased. Also, we can see really well in the dark now.

1 pound carrots, preferably young and tender
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, sliced, plus 2-3 pale, leafy celery tops
2 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you're a filthy carnivore like me)
2-3 teaspoons ground coriander (I used 2 because it seemed like so much, but think I'd use more next time)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (J notes, I use MUCH more; again being cautious, I used 2)
1 cup milk
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Trim the carrots (the recipe says you can peel them "if necessary," but I don't think it's ever really necessary), cut them into chunks, and set them aside. Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter (please note this carefully, because I initially put in all the butter and then had to quick try to scoop some out for later when I realized my mistake) in a heavy-bottomed soup kettle over low heat. Chop the onions, and, when the butter/oil is warm, add the onions to the pot. Sautee them for 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened but not browned.

2. Add the potatoes and celery to the onion in the pot and cook for a few minutes, then add the carrots. Sautee everything over low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, and then cover the pot. Reduce the heat even further and steam the contents for about 10 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally to keep the vegetables from sticking to the bottom.<

3. Add the stock, bring the soup to a boil, and then turn the heat down to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and simmer it for 8-10 minutes, until the carrots and potato are tender.

4. While the soup is cooking, chop the celery tops (you should have about 1 tablespoon once they're chopped) and the cilantro. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the ground coriander, and friy it for about a minute, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat, add the celery and cilantro leaves, and fry for another rminute. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.

5. When the soup is fully cooked, puree it in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth, then return it to the kettle. Stir in the milk, the coriander mixture, and salt and pepper to taste, heat the soup gently for a few minutes, and then serve.

Serves: 4-6
Time: 45 minutes to an hour

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