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story.lead_photo.caption Carrot Soup with toasted pecans For The Washington Post/STACY ZARIN GOLDBERG

This is what I have learned from testing carrot soup recipes: Even people who really like carrots sometimes will pause at a pureed bowlful in which that vegetable is the star ingredient. That includes people who enjoy carrots raw but not cooked, and those who are underwhelmed by the texture and/or flavor of pureed carrots.

You often find carrot soup flavored with ginger, and its texture tempered with dairy.

Here, a little garlic, judicious use of spices and coconut milk make the difference, with no discernible coconut taste. I think it could even serve as a base for a minestrone-type vegetable soup, if you happen to have leftover cooked vegetables on hand.

Thus far, this soup has passed muster with a sampling of carrot soup skeptics.

Don't skip toasting the pecans, which complement the carrots' sweetness.

Carrot Soup

½ medium onion

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided use

1 pound carrots (no tops)

½ cup canned coconut milk or whole milk (see note)

½ cup pecan halves

1 teaspoon ground cumin OR ground coriander

1 teaspoon celery seed

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, for serving

Cut the onion into ½-inch dice. Peel and mince the garlic.

Melt the butter in a deep pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion, garlic and ½ teaspoon of the salt; cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onion has softened. Meanwhile, scrub the carrots well or peel them, then trim and cut into thin rounds.

Increase the heat to medium; stir in the carrots, milk and 3 cups water. Once the liquid begins to bubble at the edges, cover and cook until the carrots become tender, about for 20 minutes.

While the carrots are cooking, toast the pecans in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Immediately transfer the toasted nuts to a cutting board to cool. Once cool, coarsely chop them, if desired. Add the cumin, celery seed, crushed red pepper flakes and black peppercorns to the skillet; toast for a few minutes until fragrant, then pour into a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to crush and blend them.

Uncover the pot and add all but a pinch of the toasted, crushed spices; use an immersion (stick) blender to puree the mixture into a smooth soup. Or transfer to a traditional blender and processes (in batches, if necessary) until smooth. Stir in the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt.

Divide among individual bowls. Garnish with the remaining toasted spices, a dollop or swirl of sour cream or yogurt and the toasted pecans.

Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Note: If you're using coconut milk, you may want to first transfer the can's contents to a container and homogenize it with an immersion (stick) blender or use a regular blender.

Recipe adapted from Cooking in the Moment by Andrea Reusing (Clarkson Potter, 2011)

Nutrition information: Each of 3 servings prepared with coconut milk contains approximately 330 calories, 9 g protein, 28 g fat, 21 g carbohydrate (4 g sugar), 20 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium and 7 g fiber.

Food on 03/13/2019

Print Headline: Bright-tasting carrot soup pleases even carrot skeptics

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