Across the country, farmers’ markets have their own individual and regional flair, personalities. Some are more produce based, others have lots of value added goods and they all vary in their seasonality and product selection. One of the major differences I’ve enjoyed between SF markets and those in NYC is citrus. We had no citrus fruit at the NYC Greenmarkets, since it didn’t grown in our region. Here, there is an incredible abundance of citrus: oranges, grapefruit, lemons, mandarins, limes, kumquats! I’ve been stocking up regularly and enjoy keeping scurvy at bay.
In addition to my new access to this plethora of citrus fruit, I was the happy/lucky recipient of a cookbook titled “Citrus” for my birthday last month. I’ve had a great time flipping through it, ogling the pretty pictures and trying a few recipes as they strike my fancy. One of the first that I made (and which I’ve made three times now in the last month) was for curried orange soup. It’s delicious and easy. I’m calling it carrot orange soup here because the base is carrots and while it has a fantastic array of spices in it (a true Indian curry), it doesn’t use curry powder or have the particular taste associated with a store bought curry powder blend. The addition of the orange juice also makes this an exciting departure from the typical curried carrot soup.
So, in celebration of spring and local citrus and vibrant colors and flavors, enjoy this with a slice of hearty bread!
Carrot Orange Soup – 6 servings
- 1 Tbs unsalted butter (could use olive oil if desired)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 lb carrots, chopped (you can peel them if they need it)
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 cups broth (veg or chicken)
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 12 black pepper corns
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 dried red pepper (or some chili powder if you don’t have dried peppers on hand)
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 6 allspice berries
- 2 cardamom pods
- 4 slices fresh ginger, about 1/8-inch thick
- 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- orange slices and mint for garnish, if desired
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a 3-quart non-reactive pot. Add the onion and saute until the edges are golden (about 10 minutes).
- Meanwhile, chop the carrots and prepare the spices. You can put them in a spice bag or I’ve used a paper loose-leaf tea bag or a piece of cheesecloth. All of the whole spices (so everything else except the carrots, garlic, broth, turmeric and orange juice) go into the bag. Tie it up so the spices stay separate.
- Add the carrots, garlic, broth and turmeric to the onions. Stir then add the spice bag and bring the pot to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the spice bag and puree the soup in a food processor or blender. Be careful when pureeing hot ingredients, they can push off the lid.
- Return the pureed soup to the pot, add the orange juice and heat through without boiling. Serve hot with orange slices and/or mint.
If you’re efficient with chopping and juicing, the whole thing takes less than an hour to prepare. Also, if you don’t have all the spices called for, don’t sweat too much, there’s plenty of flavor to go around.