Cumin Carrot Soup
My friend Louisa, a terrific cook who’s dinner invitations always fill me with anticipation, whipped up this beauty of a carrot soup the other night. The pecans and butter propel the sometimes-humble carrot soup into a whole new stratosphere of sex appeal. Yet it’s not-overly exotic either, which is refreshing, since I find the usual coconut, garlic, ginger coriander jamboree often drowns out the carrots. Instead, this simple soup lets the carrot’s essential flavour remain central. A perfect opener for a dinner party (double the recipe accordingly) or a romantic dinner for two. Here’s the recipe.
1 medium onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2–3 large carrots, sliced thin (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 cups water (or chicken broth, Louisa uses broth)
2 tablespoons pecans, chopped coarse
1 teaspoon unsalted butter for tossing the toasted pecan garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook onion in butter over moderate heat, stirring until softened. Add carrots, cumin and salt and cook, stirring 1 minute. Addd water or broth and simmer, covered, 25 minutes or until carrots are very tender.
Meanwhile, on a baking sheet, toast pecans in the middle of oven until fragrant or one shade darker. Toss pecans with butter and salt to taste. In a blender puree soup until smooth. Divide soup between bowls and top with pecans.