Carrot and Coriander Soup

Variety is the spice of life and likewise you could say that spice is the variety of life.

There can be a certain trepidation to the word spice; many associating it with unpalatable and ferocious chilli heat. This could not be further from the truth and spices provide such flavour and interesting dimensions to our food. I’m beginning this post by talking about spice because it is the essence that elevates this soup from the beyond the ordinary. The coriander seeds when toasted emit a wonderful orange, citrus aroma that works so well with the sweetness of the carrots. The cumin rounds out the flavour with a hint of earthiness and the coriander leaf livens up the soup at the end with its fresh vibrancy

Carrots and Coriander

Coriander Leaf and Carrots

If I was to give you one piece of kitchen advice for the year ahead it would be to invest in a coffee grinder so that you can freshly grind whole spices. Ground spices that you buy in jars in the supermarket generally go stale after about 3 months. This is not to say they’re bad to eat but rather they lose their vibrancy of flavour. In comparison whole spices tend to have a much longer shelf life and will keep well in sealed containers for a year or more. To really enhance the flavour of these spices put them on a dry frying pan, turn the heat to medium and heat until they are lightly toasted and their wonderful aroma dances provocatively from the pan. Let them cool briefly before blending to a fine consistency in the coffee grinder.

Coriander and Cumin Seeds

Top Left: Coriander and Cumin Seeds Right: Coffee Grinder Bottom Left: Ground Spices

Soup is an excellent choice for lunch or a light supper and a great way to help reach your five-a-day target. It is so versatile, can be made in advance and freezes really well. I tend to make a big batch at the weekend and freeze in portions for the coming week. Soup also lends itself to so many different ingredients and combinations so it is ideal for using vegetables that are in season, providing us with something that is both convenient and economical.

Carrots

Carrots

Ingredients

Serves approx. 8

  • 1 kg carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into slices
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock
  • A small bunch of coriander leaf, large stalks removed, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Single cream to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan on the hob, add the onion and celery, turn the heat down to medium and sauté for 7 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the carrots, spices, and a dash of water into the pan and cook for a minute, stirring to combine the spices with the other ingredients
  2. Add the stock, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
  3. Leave to cool and transfer to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Transfer back to a pot and add the chopped coriander. Serve with a dash of cream if you like and an extra garnish of chopped coriander leaf
Carrot and Coriander Soup

Serve with an extra garnish of coriander and a swirl of cream

Carrot and Coriander Soup

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Carrot and Coriander Soup

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