Saturday, April 17, 2010

Carrot and Tahini Soup with Pita Crisps

This soup originated from a recipe at an online newspaper - I don't remember, New York Times or something. I did make a few adjustments - can't help myself - and this is oh, so good! Be sure to use all the garnishes, it really makes the dish sparkle. The pita crisps I made from some frozen 8-grain pita bread that I had in the freezer that was made from the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 fat leek (or 2 small), white part only, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced (Yes 6!, use them all, it's okay.)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more or less to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 quart vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 heaping teaspoons Vogue Low Sodium Instant Vegebase
2 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
2 pita breads, each cut into wedges
1/3 cup tahini
Fresh lemon juice, to taste
Grated lemon zest, for garnish
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. In a soup pot over medium heat, pour in oil, then add leek and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until garlic is just starting to brown. Add salt, pepper, coriander, turmeric and cayenne a saute for another minute or so.

2. Add carrots and stir to coat them with leek mixture. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, then add broth, thyme, 2 cups water, and Vogue vegebase. Bring to a simmer, partly cover and cook until carrots are very tender, about 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush pita wedges with a little olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Spread them on a baking sheet and bake until brown and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

4. When carrots are tender, turn off heat and let soup cool for 10 minutes. Remove thyme branches and stir in tahini. Using either an immersion blender, regular blender or food processor, purée soup until smooth. Return to pot and reheat if necessary. Taste and add lemon juice and more salt if desired.

5. Serve soup garnished with the lemon zest, cilantro and pita wedges.

One final point, if you don't have a microplaner, get one. It makes zesting lemons and limes effortless. I really love mine.

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