Summer is here way too early; 30 degree days but at least the evenings are cool. I had invited friends over for a Sunday evening meal and wanted to prepare something ahead of time so I could enjoy talking with them rather than rushing around in the kitchen. I wanted something pretty and summery in colour and flavour.
Not only was I providing a delicious entrée but I suggested I was giving them youth dew. Carrots are rich in anti-oxidants including beta-carotene which is thought to play a role in helping our immune system and possibly lower the risk of developing cancer or heart disease. Beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A which aids eye health and revitalises the epithelium.
Carrots also contain Vitamin C another strong anti-oxidant, plus smaller amounts of Vitamin K, E, B6 and B12. It also contains calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, and potassium for your heart and blood pressure. Plus of course all that fibre, with no fat or cholesterol.
So to the Chilled Carrot Soup recipe which is such an easy recipe and so delicious.
Because I had run out of chicken stock I made a vegetable stock first with the ends of some asparagus I had in the fridge plus the leaves from the leek, half a small onion chopped, a bay leaf, sprigs of parsley and thyme, the peels and ends of the carrots and a few black peppercorns which I simmered for 40 minutes before I used it in the soup.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek finely sliced,
- 750 g carrots, peeled with the ends cut off and sliced
- Sprig of thyme, or chopped fresh ginger
- 1 litre vegetable stock (or light chicken stock)
Add the oil to a large soup pan, and sauté the chopped onion and leek over a gentle heat until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, stir to combine then add the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer until the carrots are tender.
Remove from the heat and blend until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This soup is also lovely served warm.
Flavouring ideas: you can add fresh coriander to the mixture while cooking, or ½ teaspoon ground cumin or 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger to give the soup a Moroccan flavour.
Hints: If you have run out of stock, use unsweetened carrot juice to add flavour rather than just use water.
- A swirl of sour cream, a scattering of coriander or thyme and a grind of pepper
- I whipped up some crème fraîche until it was thick, then added finely chopped garlic chives from the garden and some thyme,
- Lightly steamed carrot balls which are then chilled