Winter is coming. And with it comfort food. Lots and lots of comfort food. Cooking during winter is just so much better for so many reasons, but the best one of all being how wonderful it can make you feel on a cold night. One thing that features a lot in my household is vegetable soups. They’re so quick and easy to prepare, and are something we all enjoy. Even my vegetable-hating sister will sit down to a veggie soup.
Something else that features in my kitchen a lot is coriander, or cilantro as some of my international readers will know it as. My local fruit shop typically sells massive bunches of them as a three for $2.50 deal. It’s so extremely cheap in comparison to any supermarket that I can’t help but bring the trio home with me every time I go shopping. It can make it difficult to use it all before it spoils, so this recipe is one of a few I turn to when I have a lot to use. It has all the ease of a standard vegetable soup made special with the addition of fresh coriander and a handful of Moroccan spices.
First you’ll want to start off with a bunch of fresh carrot. Rather than peeling the carrot, simply give them a good wash. All the best nutrients live in the skin so it’s better to keep as much of that as you can. I only snip off the tips (and feed them to my Plecos who absolutely love them — waste not want not).
Do all your chopping of veggies and measuring of spices first, as it will make the rest of the process seamless.
To get your soup going, melt some butter in a large pot and sauté your onion and garlic. Once it’s soft, you can mix in your spices. If it starts looking like it’s getting too dry you can add a little more butter: you don’t want all those lovely spices burning on the bottom of the pan.
Your kitchen will start to smell amazing, that’s when you know the spices are working their magic and it’s time to add in the fresh coriander. I reserve a little of the leaves to stir into the finished soup later. Next, stir in your carrots and let them cook for a moment.
It’s then time to add your stock. I alternate between using chicken or vegetable stock based on what I have on hand, or sometimes a combination of both. It really doesn’t seem to affect the taste at all. If you want to keep this dish vego, of course you will not use the chicken stock. Some bought chicken stocks don’t actually contain any real chicken, but I know some people on meatless diets who are still opposed to eating the fake stuff so always check with your recipients first.
Bring it to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. They’ll take around half an hour to cook. You don’t want to undercook the carrots or you’ll end up with undercooked chunks through your soup, but even more so you do not want to overcook it either. Waterlogged vegetables taste horrid. To check, take a fork and smoosh one of the carrots against the side of the pot. If it’s tender, you’re read to go.
To blend soups, I much prefer using a stick blender. I find my food processor misses bits, and it makes a crazy amount of dishes. But do whatever works for you. After blending it up, I stirred in the rest of the coriander leaves I reserved at the start.
Here you can add in some cream if you’d like to make it a little extra rich and creamy. I added a little cream into the dish, and then a dollop of greek yoghurt on top. You can flavour the yoghurt if you feel the need to add extra dimension here, but I didn’t this time. If you want to make this dish vegan, you can omit the cream completely or substitute with a dairy-free version. Coconut cream is my preference.
I topped it all off with a bit of cracked pepper and even more coriander. Did I mention really really love coriander? We ate this with grilled flatbread, which is our favourite accompaniment.
The result is such a flavourful soup we all absolutely loved demolishing. I’ve made it twice already this autumn and the cold weather hasn’t even kicked in yet.
|Moroccan Coriander and Carrot Soup|
1 large brown onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 large bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
1kg carrots, sliced
2 litres vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup cooking cream or greek yoghurt (optional)