Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yummy carrot soup!

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Usually when a recipe is handed along from person to person, it gets changed a little bit each time. That is certainly true of today’s recipe.

I am in a group of five couples who gather the third Saturday of each month for a wine dinner. Last month the dinner was at my home, and I made the spice-rubbed fish with lady pea succotash that I wrote about a few weeks back. It was every bit as good as the first time I made it, and I’m sure I’ll make it again soon.

Jennifer Biggs (Food Editor of the Commercial Appeal) is in the group. She made a really yummy carrot soup. She revised a recipe that a colleague, Peggy Burch, had given her, changing the seasonings to better match the Portuguese vinho verde that she’d wanted to share with us.

The recipe called for bottled peri-peri sauce. Peri-peri sauce is a hot pepper sauce brought from South Africa to Portugal by seafaring merchants. It has become a part of the Portuguese culinary tradition. The tiny peri-peri peppers are hot. And the sauce made from them is hot. Really hot. But used in moderation, as Jennifer did, it was the perfect seasoning for a soup to go with the crisp white wine.

Bottled peri-peri sauce isn’t widely available, so I went online to try to find a recipe that I thought would approximate the flavors. I tried the soup with a home-made sauce and while not exactly like Jennifer’s soup, it was still very tasty.

Some recipes call for pureeing all the sauce ingredients together (which is what I did), or working to a paste with a mortar and pestle. Others call for just very finely mincing the solids. That’s your choice. Either way, making it a day ahead will improve the flavor.

This makes more sauce than you’ll need for the soup, but you’ll like it later brushed on chicken or fish to grill, or in the butter used to sauté shrimp. Or marinate cubes of beef or lamb overnight for shish kebabs.

We had the soup warm, but it is also very good chilled. The apple relish on top is the perfect accompaniment. Enjoy!

SPICY CARROT SOUP WITH APPLE RELISH

For the soup:
2 lbs baby carrots, chopped
1 lb apples, cored but not peeled, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 cups chicken stock
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup peri-peri sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder

For the sauce:
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 dash angostura bitters
3 cloves garlic
2 red jalapeño (or other hot) peppers
1 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt

For the relish:
1 each Granny Smith and Gala (or other red-skinned) apple, cored and chopped
1 small hot pepper, seeded, finely minced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
Juice of one lemon

Make the peri-peri sauce: either combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree, or very finely mince the garlic and peppers and combine with the remaining ingredients. Chill overnight if possible.
In a heavy pan, sauté the carrots, apples and onion in the oil for about five minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes, or until carrots are easily pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and puree in batches. Return to the pan and whisk in the sour cream and garlic powder. Either chill to serve cold, or reheat gently, without boiling, to serve warm.
When ready to serve, ladle into soup plates or cups and top with the combined relish ingredients. Serves 12.

1 comment:

Erik said...

Carrots and limes go so well together, especially when ginger is added to the party!