Even with the warm weather advancing upon us, there is still a reason to want soup. This one in particular is spicy, light and smooth, and manages to have a silky texture, without the addition of cream. There are, however, a couple of “secret” ingredients that make this particular carrot soup a standout.
Cashew butter and fresh, pure carrot juice add texture and flavor to this version of a simple staple. The method is easy: gently saute onion, garlic, and ginger in a combo of oil and butter. Add carrots and stock and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Puree the vegetables with cashew butter and fresh carrot juice. Add seasonings for a balance of salt, sweet, and spice. Heat and serve with garnishes designed to add color and texture. Voila! A simple soup with a punch of sweet, spicy carrot flavor that couldn’t be easier to make. I used a particular brand of cashew butter flavored with harissa (you can find it here). But, you could use your favorite brand and add spice and heat with a dab of harissa, or a little dash of hot sauce. In fact, you could use peanut butter and get very good results. Trust your palate, season your soup boldly, and get ready to enjoy a terrific addition to your lunch or dinner menu rotation. Simple, but not boring…
Carrot and Cashew Soup
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup medium-diced onion
- 1 fat garlic clove , peeled and sliced
- A 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger , peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 1/4 pounds fresh carrots , peeled and sliced
- 3 cups vegetable or light chicken stock , preferably homemade
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 1/3 cup cashew butter
- 1 to 1 3/4 cups pure , fresh carrot juice, preferably organic
- Harissa or hot sauce , for seasoning
- Rice vinegar , for seasoning
- Chopped scallions , chives, parsley, or cilantro, and chopped toasted cashews, for garnish
In a soup pot or heavy saucepan, heat the oil and butter. Add the chopped onion, sliced garlic, and chopped ginger, and a large pinch of kosher salt. Over medium heat, sweat the mixture until the vegetables are soft, but not browned. Add the 3 cups of stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the soup until the carrots are very tender. This will take about 15 minutes, but depends on how thickly you have sliced your carrots.
Take the pot off the stove and carefully transfer the mixture to a blender container. Add the cashew butter and 1 cup of the carrot juice to the blender. If you are using harissa add a little jot of it now. Cover the lid of the blender with a towel and puree the carrot mixture until uniformly smooth. You may have to do this in batches.
Rinse out the soup pot and strain the carrot mixture, through a fine sieve, back into the pot. Reheat gently and taste for seasoning. Add additional carrot juice, if needed, to achieve the consistency you prefer. Add hot sauce for more spice, a few drops of rice vinegar to balance the sweetness of the soup, and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the soup, piping hot, garnished with your choice of green herb, and some of the toasted cashews. Store any leftovers in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. You may need to add more stock or carrot juice when re-heating the soup.