Carrot & Coriander Soup

     Winter is in full force and Montreal is covered under a heavy blanket of snow, so we are now officially in soup weather. I like this soup because it's both rich and comforting, but also more vibrant that other typical winter soups like beef & barley. Carrot & coriander is a classic combination, so in this recipe I use both ground coriander seeds and fresh coriander leaves (cilantro.) Toasting the ground seeds with the onions gives the soup a rich, nutty aroma and the fresh cilantro brings a welcome brightness on a cold winter's day.
      When choosing the carrots, look for smaller ones, because they will be sweeter and less bitter than over-sized carrots. Carrots that are sold with the green tops still attached tend to be of a higher quality than those sold without. Leftover soup will keep well in the freezer.
Prep time: 15 min. Cooking time 35 minutes. Serves 8


900g (2lbs)           carrots, peeled & chopped
150g (1 1/2 cups) onions, chopped
2 cloves                fresh garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons          ground coriander
150 ml (5 oz)       35% cream
60g (2 1/4 oz)      butter
1/2 bunch             cilantro (coriander leaves) chopped
2L (4 pints)          vegetable stock (optional)
olive oil, salt & pepper

1. Add the onions, 30g butter and ground coriander to a large sauce pot and sauté on medium-high heat until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
2. Add the carrots and cover with 2L (4 pints) water or vegetable stock. Simmer on medium low heat until the carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.
3. Transfer the soup to a blender, add 100ml cream and the remaining butter, one tbs at a time while blending.
4. Divide the soup into bowls, drizzle with cream and garnish with fresh cilantro.


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