Mmm mm good- the tagline for a famous canned soup brand in their ads and what you will say with your first spoonful of this quick homemade soup.
I’ve been enjoying the warm and breezy Spring weather of the past two weeks here in NYC (finally), but today is a bit grey, chilly, and damp. Therefore, I needed a dish that would bring Spring flavors and some comforting warmth to today’s Meatless Monday dish. I was lucky enough to come across my brother’s May issue of Food & Wine magazine last week while visiting the family. I was instantly inspired by the featured pressure cooker meals by scientist and chef Nathan Myhrvold. I knew right away that his caramelized carrot soup would be perfect for today.
I made a few small changes to fit my needs and pantry. Since I’m refraining from eating any dairy and meat for a couple of weeks, I substituted the butter in the original recipe with half the amount of olive oil. I didn’t have caraway seeds that is originally called for, but I found that the cumin seeds I did have were a suitable substitute. The cumin and tarragon add a mild licorice flavor to the soup that gives it depth, and the ginger adds a slight warmth to the velvety, sweet and savory soup.
Recipe adapted from Food & Wine Magazine’s May 2011 issue
Total time: 35 mins/4 Servings
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 Tbs. Olive Oil
- 1/2 tspn. salt
- 1/4 baking soda (helps in the browning process)
- 2 cups carrot juice
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger (The ginger in the photos is thinly sliced for aesthetic purposes)
- 1 tspn. tarragon, chopped
- 1/4 tspn. cumin seeds, chopped
- Heat a pressure cooker over medium heat and add 3 Tbs. of Olive oil, the carrots, salt and baking soda. Cover and cook at 15 PSI* (see note below) for 10 minutes. If steam is coming out of the pressure cooker’s valve, the pressure is too high, and you need to lower the heat.
- Use a fork to carefully raise the pressure valve to depressurize the cooker, or run the pot under cold water to quickly cool the pot down and release pressure. Be careful not to run the water over the valve.
- Once the lid can be removed easily, return the pot over medium heat. Add the carrot juice and stir to loosen any caramelized carrot bits at the bottom of the pot. Season with black pepper to your tastes. Cook uncovered until contents are warmed through.
- Transfer contents and remaining 1 Tbs. of olive oil to a blender or processor and puree until smooth. Serve in bowls and top with cumin seeds, tarragon, and ginger.
*A note on using a pressure cooker: I believe the chef used a digital cooker because he recommends setting the cooker at 15 PSI (pounds per square inch). I am using a standard cooker. Once my valve start to release steam, I know the contents are under pressure and I lower the heat to avoid too much steam to be released too quickly. It’s important that you read the owner’s manual for your particular pressure cooker.