This Moroccan spiced carrot soup combines fresh veggies with a touch of honey, lemon, and toasted cumin in a unique and satisfying bowl full of flavor.
While the weather here in Houston skips spring (come to think of it, it pretty much bypassed winter as well) and goes straight to summer, I hear that there are parts of the country that still experience something known as “cool weather”. Yeah, we had that once. And we used that opportunity to make a delicious carrot soup.
We made this soup for our annual “Jan-Boree” party. It’s our own tradition dating all the way back to 2015. Ah, memories… It came about because Liz observed that everyone seems to be in a bit of a doldrums in January. All the holiday festivities have come and gone (and to her immense displeasure, the Christmas tree has been taken away), people have forsaken delicious cakes and decadent meals in the pursuit of New Year’s resolutions, and people have to drag themselves from vacation and shuffle to work. So she thought it would be fun to host an elegant dinner party at the end of January. For this meal, we pull out all the stops: I’m talking multiple served courses with wine pairings. It’s a ton of work, and several tons of dishes, but it’s a good time, and we plan on continuing the tradition.
This year, our menu had a bit of a Mediterranean theme. Drawing from the south side of the ocean, this smooth, spicy, and slightly sweet soup made a great addition. And it’s fairly easy to make as well. You saute onions in butter, add chicken broth and carrots, boil, blend, garnish and BOOM! You got soup! And you can make it ahead of time, which is always a bonus.
A few notes on this recipe: the most time-consuming part, especially if you are making a big batch, is peeling the carrots. You can avoid this if you get pre-peeled or baby carrots, or you can rope your sister- and brother-in-law into helping. For soup like this, I have to recommend getting an immersion blender. Not because it’s required (you can use a regular blender or a food processor), but I think it gives the dish a very nice texture. Plus, you save yourself a few more dirty dishes. Go ahead, treat yourself. No one needs to know.
Once you’ve blended the soup, you can let it cool to room temperature, and then store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Re-heat it gently before adding the yogurt and cumin. The sweetness of the carrots (accentuated by the honey), the tartness of the yogurt, and the spicy notes of the cumin make this a nicely balanced dish. Not to mention the contrasting colors look pretty in the bowl.
For those of you who still see your breath when you go outside, give this one a try, and as for the rest of you… make it anyway, it’s pretty good cold as well.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 1 cup chopped white onion
- 1 pound large carrots, peeled, cut into ½-inch dice (about 2⅔ cups)
- 2½ cups low-salt chicken broth
- 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ cup plain yogurt (get regular yogurt, not Greek style)
- Toss the butter into your soup pot over medium high heat. Choose your cooking vessel wisely, because you're going to be adding a bit of volume to it.
- Once the butter is melted, add your onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes.
- In goes the carrots and the broth. Crank the stove to high until you have reached a boil, then back it down to a simmer for 20 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, roast the cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium high heat. This is always a tricky step for me, because I feel that spices go from "fragrant" to "incinerated" rather quickly. You should smell the spice notes, and roast them as long as you dare, but don't burn them. If you're in a hurry, ground cumin works too, but it won't be quite as pungent. Once cool, grind the cumin and store in an airtight container. I'd recommend getting a cheap coffee grinder dedicated solely to grinding spices. It's better than ending up with chili and coriander flavored coffee.
- Once the soup is done cooking, take it off the heat and blend with an immersion blender until reaching your desired texture. You can also use a blender or food processor - be careful to cool the soup a bit first.
- Then add the honey, allspice, and lemon juice, and whisk to combine. Take this time to season your soup as desired. If you want a prettier looking soup, use white pepper here. Note: this is the point to stop at if you are making it ahead of time.
- To serve, place the yogurt in a separate bowl and whisk vigorously to loosen it up. Ladle the soup into bowls, and drizzle the yogurt over the top. Add a generous helping of the cumin and serve.