meatless monday: thai-style carrot soup
I’m always leery of singling out one Christmas present as my favorite. That being said, I think one of the gifts I’ve spent most of my time enjoying is the wonderful Mark Bittman cookbook my mom gave me: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. After bookmarking and taking notes on countless recipes, I finally settled on the one I wanted to make first: a Thai-inspired soup with winter ingredients, but a Southeast Asian warmth that I thought would spice up my seasonal repertoire.
Thai-Style Carrot Soup
2 Tbsp peanut or grapeseed oil
3 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and bruised, then cut into 2-inch lengths
10 nickel-sized slices peeled ginger
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled
8-10 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cans coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (stems reserved)
1 lime, quartered
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the lemongrass, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring and turning occasionally, until the garlic is golden, 3-5 minutes.
Add the carrots, a liberal pinch of salt and a 1/2 tsp or so of cayenne pepper. Cook for 1 minute, then add coconut milk and broth. Add the cilantro stems. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup for 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender. (You may prepare the soup in advance up to this point, by covering and refrigerating for up to 2 days.)
Fish out the cilantro stems and puree carefully. Reheat as necessary, and taste for salt and cayenne. The soup will probably need a lot of salt due to the sweetness of the carrots. Divide the soup into bowls, top with cilantro, peanuts and Sriracha and serve with lime wedges.
This soup is simple, with a subtle Thai flavor that went over very well with my family. I was barely able to make it away with a bowl to photograph.
And after all the turkey and stuffing, it was a welcome change of pace to ring in a welcome new year.