Thursday, April 12, 2007

Carrot and Toasted Cumin Soup

The saga ends . . . I have FINALLY done it!!! In London last November my family and I were treated to the most insanely delicious Carrot and Toasted Cumin soup at Prêt a Manger. I went back to Prêt no fewer than three times on that two week trip to indulge my soup addiction. Of course, back home in Los Angeles, we don't have Prêt (a travesty, I swear. If any restaurant investors happen to be reading this, PLEASE look into franchising Prêt restaurants in the US. And Wagamamas. And perhaps The Cornish Pastie Co. Thanks.) Really, the only thing to do was to try to replicate the recipe. After six attempts ranging from downright inedible to semi successful, I think I have finally hit gold. Here's how I did it:

2 lbs carrots, shaved and cut into largeish chunks
2 medium russet potatoes, shaved and cut into largeish chunks
2 big onions (1 sweet and 1 yellow) chopped roughly
4 tblsp. butter
2 tblsp. olive oil
liberal sprinkling of salt
1 heaping tblsp. whole cumin seeds
1 big handful cilantro, chopped roughly
8 pints water (Yes, you're making a lot of soup. It'll freeze well.)
3 or 4 veggie stock cubes

-Place all veggies in a large stock pot with butter and oil and sweat over
medium heat until softened a bit (about 10 minutes)
-Add water, stock cubes, salt and cilantro, cover and simmer
-Place cumin seeds in a small, dry frying pan and cook over low heat, shaking pan often, until fragrant (about 5 minutes)
-Grind cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle (or a clean coffee grinder. or in a plastic bag with a hammer) (I'm serious about the hammer) and add to stock pot
-Simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until carrots are soft enough to mash with a fork
-Remove soup from heat and puree with a stick blender

Makes 4 huge bowls or 6 smaller ones.
Listening:  Goldrush - "Heaven Is My Destiantion"

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