Carrot and coriander soup is very popular in Ireland. It’s lovely orange color makes it an ideal soup for fall and perfect to serve at Halloween.
The flavor of ground coriander, made from the seeds of the coriander or cilantro plant, is similar to that of roasted orange peel, making it a great complimentary spice for sweet carrots.
When I first came to America I did not realize that coriander is called cilantro over here. Only the leaves and stems of the plant are called cilantro. The seeds are still called coriander seeds in America, just like in India where they are used extensively. These seeds are ground and sometimes roasted to produce an aromatic, flavorful spice.
If you can only find coriander seeds in your grocery, you can always make your own ground spice. First dry-roast them by heating them in a small frying pan for about 2 minutes. Move them around as they roast. They are done when they start to jump in the pan. Let them cool, then grind them with a mortar and pestle or use a coffee grinder to create a coarse powder.
- 2 pounds of carrots (peeled and diced)
- 1 large potato (peeled and diced)
- 1 large onion (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil (to cook onion)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (to garnish)
The first and most time consuming job for this soup is to peel and dice all those carrots. Once I have them all peeled I chop each carrot into three pieces of roughly equal length. Then I cut each piece into quarters. (If my carrots are exceptionally fat, I cut each piece into eighths). I line up each quarter lengthwise, then chop them into small pieces about 1/4 inch in length.
And after quite a bit of chopping a lovely mound of orange carrot pieces appears.
Next heat the oil or butter in the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven. I like to use my cast iron Dutch oven. It really is a great pot for making soups. The cast iron distributes heat evenly so the vegetables simmer perfectly.
Add the onion to the melted butter and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it does not burn.
Next toss in all those lovely carrots and diced potato. Using a potato in a carrot soup may seem strange to some, but I think it counteracts some of the sweetness of the carrots. I also like the way the starch helps to thicken the soup.
Next, add the ground coriander, the minced fresh ginger, and the salt and pepper. Ginger is not always used in a carrot and coriander soup, but I like the depth of flavor it adds.
Mix all the ingredients together so the carrots are covered in butter and spice.
Lower the heat. Cover the pot and let the vegetables sweat for an additional 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once the carrots have started to soften, add the vegetable broth.
I like to add 2 cups of water also. I find if I use all vegetable broth with the diced potato, the soup ends up being very thick when pureed. So I just add a little bit of water to prevent the starchy potato over thickening this lovely soup.
Turn the heat up to high, until the soup begins to boil. Then lower the heat so that the liquid is just simmering. Cover the pot and continue to simmer for an additional 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables are fork tender. Stir the soup every 10 minutes to make sure it does not stick.
When finished cooking it should look like this. Turn the heat off and let it sit uncovered for about 10 minutes.
It’s never a good idea to puree a boiling, hot soup.
Next, use an immersion blender to puree the soup completely. If you do not have an immersion blender, then transfer the soup in batches to a liquidizer. Transfer each pureed batch to a large bowl. Then when all of the soup is pureed return it to the pot to reheat before serving.
Sprinkle the soup with some chopped fresh cilantro to serve. This is a perfect lunch on a cool fall day, with a side of crusty, buttered bread.
Here is the printable recipe:
Wishing you all happy days of Halloween and fall cooking.
Slán agus beannacht leat!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom