Carrot Cilantro Soup with Roasted Poblano Crema
It’s no secret that we ate a lot of meat this week. Normally, this isn’t the case. We’re not—by any stretch of the imagination—vegetarians or (gasp!) vegans. But we do most of our shopping at a vegetarian grocery store, and eat vegetarian meals almost every week-night. Generally, we save meat for the weekends, for nights dining out on the town. But not this week. Don’t get me wrong, all that steak was delicious. But I’ve been craving vegetables like crazy as a result. And a fresh-yet-hearty vegetable soup on Tuesday night fit the bill. Perfectly.
Soups like this one (or this one) are so yummy because they highlight the flavor of the chosen vegetable. You really taste the fresh carrots—and that freshness is accented (and dialed up) by the bright flavors of cilantro, lime, and a hint of ginger. Plus, the roasted poblano crema adds complexity (and some heat) to the dish.
Speaking of the roasted poblano crema… do you recognize it? It’s a re-purposed version of the roasted poblano sauce from my Cilantro-Lime Steak Fajitas. In that post, I mentioned that this very delectable sauce might work well as a garnish on a soup. And how did it go? Swimmingly. Just add a little sour cream (or crème fraîche) and some lime juice and—presto!—you’ve got a very yummy soup garnish on your hands.
With a soup this delicious and satisfying, no one was missing all that meat. Well, almost no one…
CARROT CILANTRO SOUP WITH ROASTED POBLANO CREMA
Inspired by Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Vegetables
Serves 4 as a main course
For the soup:
2 lbs. carrots
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus a little extra for garnish
5-6 cups low sodium chicken broth or mild vegetable broth
juice from 1/2 lime
salt & pepper
For the roasted poblano crema:
2 tablespoons roasted poblano sauce
2 tablespoons sour cream (or crème fraîche)
juice from 1/2 lime
Heat a couple splashes of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the onion, along with a little salt and pepper, and cook until soft and translucent (about 5-7 minutes).
Meanwhile, peel the carrots and potatoes, and cut into large pieces (see photo). Once the onion is soft and translucent, add the ginger and garlic, and cook until the garlic is fragrant (about 1 minute). Next, add the carrots and potato, along with some salt and pepper. Cook everything together for another minute, then add 5 cups of broth. Simmer, partially covered, for approximately 10 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are soft and easily pierced with a knife or fork.
While the vegetables are simmering away, make your roasted poblano crema. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons roasted poblano sauce, 2 tablespoons sour cream, and the juice from 1/2 lime. Taste the sauce—if you find it a little too spicy, add some more sour cream, but if you want a little more heat, add some more roasted poblano sauce.
Once the vegetables are tender, remove the soup from the heat. Purée using an immersion blender (or in batches in a regular blender or food processor), until smooth. Once puréed, the soup will be a lovely, vibrant orange color (see photo). Add the juice from 1/2 lime, the cilantro, and season with salt and pepper (to taste). Blend everything together one more time—this will ensure that the soup is silky-smooth, and that the cilantro is well-incorporated (it will form little green flecks throughout the soup). If you feel that the soup is too thick, add a little more broth to reach your desired consistency.
Ladle the soup in bowls, and top with a dollop of the roasted poblano crema and a small a few cilantro leaves as garnish. Bon Appétit!