Improbable as it seems for someone who isn't really in love with carrots, I found two pounds of carrots in my vegetable drawer the other day. (I should clarify: I love carrots raw, but not so much when they're cooked.) The carrots, at that use-them-or-compost-them stage, were a natural for soup. Orange soup, with orange carrots and orange juice. I didn't have a recipe in mind, and as it turned out, I didn't have any of the red lentils I thought would be a perfect color match. No matter: I started with the carrots, and began to build flavors from my pantry until I found a pleasing balance of warm and sweet. I'm glad I kept good notes as I went along, because this is a recipe I want to make again and again. Make it ahead and freeze it, and serve it hot or try it chilled, with a plop of yogurt or sour cream on top. I just might learn to love cooked carrots after all.
Slow cooker curry carrot and lentil soup
2 lbs carrots, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (if organic, no need to peel the carrots)
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 Tbsp mild curry powder
1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp harissa
1/2 cup lentils (red or brown)
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Chopped scallions, for garnish
In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker, combine the carrots, onion, curry powder, cumin, ginger, vegetable broth, and orange juice.
Cover, and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
Add the maple syrup, harissa and lentils. Turn the cooker to HIGH and cook for 2 hours.
Turn off the cooker, remove the insert and set aside, and let the soup cool for 15 minutes. Then transfer to a blender and puree, in batches if necessary. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.
Ladle into individual bowls, and garnish with scallions. Serve hot, at room temperature, or chilled. (Can be frozen.)
More ways to use your tube of harissa:
Vegan squash or pumpkin stew with chickpeas and carrots
North African harissa turkey meatballs
Moroccan carrot salad
Chicken salad with walnuts, celery, and pomegranate-harissa yogurt sauce
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Curry carrot ice cream, from Not Eating Out in New York
Apricot-glazed carrots with ginger and curry, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Filipino style chicken curry, from Ang Sarap
Curried carrot cauliflower soup, from Nourishing Meals
Maple sweet potato cakes with curried Greek yogurt, from Foxes Love Lemons
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