When that cold damp sensation starts slithering through my bones so that I feel chilled from the inside out – there is only one thing to do. Put on a pot of soup. Well, two things, light a fire and put on a pot of soup. But, for this post it’s all about the soup. This superior low fat, low sodium recipe is adapted from one by the California Culinary Academy. I swap out their chicken stock for vegetable stock and decrease the amount of stock substantially so that I have a much thicker soup. Doubling the recipe increases the cooking time (I generally cook up a recipe and a half). The main thing about the cooking time is that you do want your carrots to be cooked well through. Otherwise, unless you use a juicer strength blender, your cream soup would be a tad gritty. No “al dente” carrots. A light crunch is good when they’re a side dish, not so much if you want a creamy soup. I also always start with the regular size carrots as I find them more flavorful – the mini peeled ones always taste a bit watery to me. Depending on my mood, I may also increase the amount orange rind for that fresh flavor it brings. As you’re adding the sherry at the beginning of cooking, the alcohol will burn off (kiddies won’t notice the flavor, for them I’d watch amount of cardamom). The sherry allows you to sauté the onions and carrots with much less oil. This soup has about 83 calories per cup, yet tastes so rich and hearty.
Carrot Cardamom Soup with SherryAdapted from the California Culinary Academy recipe 1 1/2 Cup chopped onion 1 1/2 TBL garlic (smooshed with back of knife or minced) 2 tsp oil 2/3 cup dry sherry 4 Cups sliced carrots 4 Cups low sodium stock (veggie or chicken) 2/3 Cup water 2 tsp cardamom 1 Cup lowfat or nonfat plain yogurt 1 tsp nutmeg 1 tsp grated orange peel
In your stockpot, sauté onion and garlic in oil and sherry until the onion is transparent (about 10 minutes, do not brown). Add the carrots, stir, put a lid on and cook about 8 minutes, periodically stirring. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes (again stir occasionally). This is where you want to be sure to test your carrot slices – no crunch! I slice mine thinly in my 4 Cup Cuisinart. If you hand slice, your slices will be thicker and take more time to cook. Add cardamom, nutmeg, yogurt and orange rind. Puree (stick blender or do in batches in counter style blender). Taste. If you like add more orange rind or cardamom. Warm through and serve. If you want to be fancy, place a tablespoon of yogurt in the center of the bowl and grate some fresh nutmeg just over that area. This soup is good both warm for these wintry nights and cold for your summer entertaining. This recipe makes ~6 two cup servings (as an appetizer to a large meal, you’d use just one cup and it’ll go further).
Kitchen tip – if you’re using a Cuisinart to slice your carrots – run your onion through first and the thin slices will cook pretty quickly. Then, slice some extra carrots while you’re doing them. Store in a tightly covered bowl and sprinkle them over your salads or, my favorite, toss in with boiling pasta in those last 5 minutes of cooking so you get a bit of extra veggie in your pasta dish, no hassle.