Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Creamy Carrot Coconut Soup

When Don and I were shopping for our first home, he was sure he wanted a small town and I was sure I wanted an urban centre.  I spent the majority of my childhood and youth dreaming of escaping small town living and here he was suggesting I return to it.  Fast forward ten years and I can tell you with confidence that the small town has worked out wonderfully for my kids and our family.  Close proximity to a city certainly eases any fears I have of truly being out in the middle of nowhere. 

The other day I had a craving for a sweet potato, red lentil coconut soup.  I headed to our local grocery store and sadly was forced to regroup.  They were out of sweet potatoes and don't even carry the red lentils!  Rather than curse my bad luck of living in a small town with limited ingredients, I shifted my attention to a dish I could make without having to drive into the city.  I always keep staples in my fridge for times just like this and they certainly came in handy in trying to satisfy my craving.

It's a super easy soup that comes together quickly and economically.  The lemongrass from a tube is not my first choice, but in a pinch it can really add the flavour without sending you to an Asian market or specialty shop to buy the real thing.  I used a red curry paste, but yellow or green curry paste could easily be substituted.  The coconut milk adds smoothness to the soup and helps tame some of the spice from the curry paste.  I sprinkled a unsweetened coconut on top for a little texture, but it's not necessary. Some fresh cilantro would be nice on top too, but that's another ingredient my small town store doesn't carry.   Hope you give this soup a try in either your rural or urban kitchen.

Creamy Carrot Coconut Soup

3Tbsp olive oil
1 onion diced
1 lb carrots peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp curry paste
1 Tbsp minced lemongrass
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic
5-7 carrots
4 cups vegetable stock (how to make homemade)
1 can coconut milk
salt/pepper to taste
Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large pot and add onion.  Cook for about 5 min and then add lemongrass, curry paste, ginger and garlic.  Continue cooking about 3-4min longer.  Add the vegetable stock and scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the carrots and bring the soup to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Cook for about 20min, until carrots are tender.  With an immersion blender, food processor or blender, puree soup until smooth and return to pot.  Add coconut milk and heat on medium.  Season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

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