It was a busy morning and the house was still cold waiting for a new boiler to arrive and be fixed, so soup seemed an absolute must to warm two cold girls (my daughter was still here). I didn’t have time to shop but remembered driving back from an appointment in Chiswick that there was fresh coriander and a big bunch of carrots I’d bought in the farmers’ market on Saturday in my fridge, as well as some fresh chicken stock, made yesterday from the leftovers of the roast on Sunday. Well … perfection!
The soup turned out to be similar to the Simple Vegetable Soup I posted recently, but this time the definite stars of the show were the carrots and coriander. They partner each other so well, the fresh bittersweet coriander balancing the sweet woodiness of the carrot.
I wanted a nice, deep hearty soup on this winter’s day, so added some onion, celery and potato too. I started off by chopping a couple of small onions and 1 stick of celery and adding to a large pan with some olive oil and about 25g butter. I often like to put some butter into soup for a creamier flavour. I added as I chopped. Next came a crushed clove of garlic, followed by about 700g of carrots, chopped into smallish pieces. Next came some chopped Maris Piper potatoes – about 350g, so half the amount of carrots.
On a sudden impulse I added one of my favourite spices that goes so well with carrots: cumin, ground freshly and delivering a gorgeous aromatic fragrance as they roasted in the pan and a little memory of Morocco where this spice is used so much. I let the vegetables gently fry in the oil and butter for a while – as one does when making an Italian sofritto – to enhance the flavours and make them richer before adding the stock. But don’t let them brown. Once you can see them softening, add the stock – enough to cover the vegetables. If you don’t have stock to hand, then use water – it will still be a good soup but without the depth the stock brings. I also seasoned the soup at this point but remember to check how much salt is needed as the stock will be salted.
I let it all bubble gently for about half an hour until the vegetables were soft enough to crush against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. I then blitzed it all with a hand blender, but so that only about half the vegetables were blended and leaving some pieces whole. I like this as I find it helps the flavour and brings a more rustic touch as you find whole pieces of carrot or potato but still have a nice thick soup. Finally, I added a good sized bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped, and gave it all a good stir. Check seasoning again and then the soup is ready to serve.
We ate it with some of the sourdough bread we’d bought at the new local artisan bakery in Twickenham at the weekend, lightly toasted and olive oil drizzled over the top. It was a gorgeous lunch: a soup full of goodness and flavour and just what was needed!