Carrot and Orange Soup

A valuable way to use up older carrots, which tend to be a little bitter. The coconut milk makes the soup creamy without using milk or cream – and it’s dairy-free!

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
450g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced
Sea salt
1 apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
Juice of 2 oranges and zest of 1 orange
450ml vegetable or chicken stock (fresh or made from a good low-salt stock cube)
40ml coconut milk
1/2 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped (reserve a little for garnish)
Croutons to garnish (see recipe for croutons here)

Instructions

1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan.

2. Add the carrots and red onion, season with just a little salt and fry for up to 10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Stir from time to time.

3. Add the apple with the orange juice and orange zest.

4. Add the stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil. Stir, cover with a lid and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook until the carrots are really soft (up to 40 minutes). Add the fresh coriander and stir.

5. Leave the soup to cool slightly, then purée in batches in the pan with a hand blender or in a stand blender (making sure not to over-fill the blender or it will spurt out). Pour the soup back into a clean saucepan, add a little water to bring it to the consistency you like and adjust the seasoning with salt, if required. Serve with a garnish of fresh coriander.

Recipe note

– Freezing: leave to cool completely and freeze it in portion sized bags – it will keep for up to 2 months.

– You may need to add salt at the end of cooking if you use fresh stock but if you use a commercial stock cube, you shouldn’t need any as their main ingredient is salt.

– The soup can be made 3 days ahead and stored in the fridge.

Recipe variations

Use all stock and omit the coconut milk. Instead to give it a creamy consistency, add a dollop of plain yogurt to the soup when it has cooled and blend well (if you do this, the soup is obviously no longer dairy-free).

Omit the apple if you don’t have one.

Use any herb instead of coriander: fresh mint is good (use half the quantity of coriander), fresh oregano, marjoram or rosemary (use the leaves of 1/2 sprig as they are very strong herbs – add them at the same time as the onion)  or dried thyme or dried oregano (fry 1 teaspoon of dried herbs with the onion).

Cooking tip: when you blend warm or hot liquid, only fill the blender to half-full. Blend at the slowest speed to start with and cover the blender with a tea towel.

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