Carrot Soup with Harissa & Coconut
On Shabbat (Saturday) afternoon, we welcomed our baby girl in to our lives making us a family of four. My wife did an outstanding job, listening to her body and remaining in control throughout labor, and to quote her, she had "the perfect birth". A few weeks ago my wife shared her first birth story. This time around the experience was completely different, positive in every way and I want to thank the team at the New Birth Company as this birth experience has healed the trauma we held on to for more than two years and given us reason to count our blessings. It's a pleasure to welcome our little lady into our world.
When a baby is born in our community, friends send meals to the family of the newborn for two weeks so they can get adjusted to life with a new baby – this is especially useful considering our two year old is excited to be a big brother and still needs to be entertained while we find our new rhythm. In a similar vein, not knowing how much time I would be cooking, I didn't know how much I would be able to share with you guys over the next few weeks, so lined up some guest posts for you to enjoy. I plan to share a little about our baby's name later this week, but for now, let me introduce my guest.
Ronnie Fein of Kitchen Vignettes is a very talented cook and a fellow foodie friend. Her book, Hip Kosher: 175 Easy-to-Prepare Recipes for Today's Kosher Cooks is full of an inspiring and out of the box approach to kosher cooking – I enjoyed it so much that we gave a copy of this book to a friend that married recently too. Ronnie is just one of the Kosher Connection bloggers that take part in monthly Kosher Recipe Link Ups that I have been participating in, and it's an honor to host a guest post from Ronnie today.
Carrot Soup with Harissa and Coconut
How sweet it is! Those vintage song lyrics could be an anthem for Rosh Hashanah, when we all pray for a sweet new year and eat lots of sweet foods: apple slices dipped in honey, tsimmes and honeycake of course, and, at our house, carrots. Carrots are among the sweetest vegetables around and everyone in my family likes them. They also have special significance for the holidays. In Yiddish, the word for carrots, mehren, means “to increase” or “multiply.” A good thought for good luck and good fortune in the year ahead.
Over the years I’ve served carrot cake and carrot kugel during the holidays, but usually it’s some kind of soup that’s on the menu. This year I’m making Carrot Soup with Harissa and Coconut, a recent experiment that my husband declared the “the best dish I ever tasted in my life!”
This version of traditional carrot soup is spicy, but not fiery. The heat comes from harissa (a North African peppery condiment), but rich, sweet-ish coconut milk calms it down and gives it a fabulously rich, creamy quality as well. The soup is pareve, so it goes with meat or dairy. I make my own harissa (there’s a recipe in my book, Hip Kosher), but if you’re not up for that, there are plenty of store-bought options these days.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 6 whole cloves
- 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons harissa
- 1 cup coconut milk
- salt to taste
- toasted coconut for garnish, optional
Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots and cook briefly. Add the stock and cloves, bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pan partially and cook for 25 minutes or until the carrots are soft. Remove the cloves. Puree the soup with an immersion blender (or use a standing blender or food processor). Return the soup to the pan. Whisk in the harissa. Whisk in the coconut milk. Bring the soup to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste. Serve garnished with toasted coconut if desired. Makes 6 servings