Rachel Bennett

A soup for Every Season: Honeyed Cream of Carrot and Chili

In Food on November 30, 2010 at 21:09

I awoke this morning and began the lackluster routine of rousing myself from the depths. Today however, I flung open the curtains to a swirling world of white, the staid pattern of roofs, brick, and twisting gray road sparkling with a shifting veil of flakes. The first snow of winter never ceases to afflict me with a childlike giddiness. I gasped and danced a disheveled jig by the window.

Perhaps this reaction is caused by happy memories of snow days, when you woke to the sound of the phone ringing in the shrouded, dawning light. You scarcely dared guess the reason. Tiptoeing to the window you offered up a silent prayer and parted the curtains. There, a glistening blanket greeted you, softening the contours of buildings and fences, beckoning, untrammeled and pristine with possibility.

Sadly, the snow this morning in London was not sticking to the ground, but it was enough for me that the air was soft and with unhurried flakes. After I’d exhausted the pleasures of my jig, I proceeded with the morning, my mind wandering however, to what I wanted to eat in honor of the snow. Hot Chocolate was a given, but I also required real nourishment, something to complement the weather, to bolster my body against the glacial air. The fridge obligingly provided an answer. Carrots, fresh ginger, a generous helping of red chilies, a spoonful of honey and a clementine for good measure—I had a heap of flavors ideal for simmering into a warming winter soup.

For this recipe, I heartily encourage experimentation and substitution. This is generally my own philosophy to soup as it’s an ideal realm for creative cooking; you can add or subtract most elements to suit your taste and generally produce something wholly satisfying. And if you’re in the mood for some real heat, as I was, add extra chili and ginger for an even more invigorating elixir.

olive oil
1/2 onion
bunch of carrots

a few potatoes
a knob of fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 chili peppers
1 clementine
sprinkle of thyme
squeeze of lemon
1 tablespoon honey

chicken or vegetable stock to cover (about a pint)
Half and half (single cream) to finish

Place a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add a slosh of olive oil and while this is heating, roughly chop the onions, carrots, potatoes and ginger, mince the garlic and chilies, and peel the clementine. Add all these to the oil, sprinkle on the thyme, stir and cover with stock. Bring to boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon, spoon of honey, and whiz in a processor. Finish with salt, pepper, and cream to taste.

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