26 October 2012

Spiced Orange, Carrot and Coconut Soup with Carrot Crisps


"He did the mash,
He did the monster mash,
The monster mash,
It was a graveyard smash
He did the mash..."

Bobby "Boris" Pickett 1993

Ah... Alas the last vestiges of summer are fading. Autumn is here. The sun weakens and the once abundant and luxuriant foliage of the last few months dons its last cloak of spectacular orange, yellow and brown colours before drying to a crisp and disappearing altogether. This weekend the clocks go back and while we get an extra hour in bed the price is six months of extra darkness. Time for monsters, ghosts, ghouls and spirits to make their annual appearance... It's Hallowe'en!

Never mind, this time of year does have its compensations not the least of which is the excuse to put away the salad spinner and pull out the stock pot and start making hearty and warming potages. We love cooking soups as they are so versatile and forgiving. There are no strict rules and you can keep adding, adjusting and seasoning until you are happy with the result. Needless to say soups can be made well ahead of requirements, in fact they are better made in advance and the flavour will improve notably if left at least over night. The big trick is to start off with a good stock. Nothing is so important and this season of game yields the most wonderful stock possibilities. Guinea fowl, partridge, grouse, pheasant and of course the humble chicken all make wonderful stock. Please do not throw out carcasses or bones just put them on to simmer for about an hour and then drain and freeze the liquid. You will have a wonderful asset in your freezer ready to be pressed into service at any time.

A couple of weeks ago we featured watercress soup and we hope to continue to feature a few of our favourite soups over the next few winter months but as an homage to autumn's spectacular spectrum of hues - think of the firey flame colours of this season, bonfires and pumpkin lamps, the bright oranges, yellows and reds of butternuts, marrows and beetroots we'll post with this one. Please note these ingredients are a suggestion. Do not be afraid to experiment with your favourite herbs and spices. As ever presentation is everything so please also give a little thought to aesthetics, it only takes a minute. Remember you eat with your eyes!

Ingredients

Soup
800g Carrots roughly chopped
1 Large onion chopped
4 cms Ginger sliced
3 Cloves Garlic crushed
2 Tbsps Curry powder
1 Orange Zest and juice
2 Bay leaves
1 Tbsp Chilli powder
750 mls Chicken or vegetable stock
1 Can Coconut milk

Crisps
5 or 6 Large carrots washed and peeled
2 Tbsps light vegetable oil
Sea salt




Method

Crisps
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Slice carrots lengthwise with a vegetable peeler and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with vegetable oil. Place in a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes turning every few minutes. Remove from the tray with a spatula and place on a wire rack. As the slices cool they will become crisp. Sprinkle with sea salt and arrange as a garnish on the soup.



Soup
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion until translucent (about 3 or 4 Minutes). Add ginger, garlic, bay leaves and curry powder and fry for a further few minutes until powder is cooked out then pour in the stock and carrots and simmer. Once carrots are tender remove bay leaves and blend with a hand blender or in a liquidizer. Return to the saucepan and add the coconut milk and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes. Season to taste. For a more chunkier version remove a few of the carrots before blending and return to the smooth soup.


Posted by incredibly fed

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