Saturday before last I left my winter coat on the coat rack, pushed my boots to the back of the closet, and opened the door to 70 degree temperatures. But, what a difference a week can make this time of the year. The following weekend the low was in the teens, and gusty winds made things even chillier. As a cook, I’ve been questioning what to serve during such mercurial weather. Then I remembered a delectable carrot soup scented with coconut and lime (from, Soup Nights) that could be served warm or cool.
Thick and creamy with a vibrant orange hue, this dish is both quick and simple to prepare. Onions and carrots sautéed in butter are simmered in chicken stock and coconut milk, then turned into a smooth puree. Lime juice balances the carrots’ sweetness, while cilantro provides a nice herbal note.
I first sampled this soup in a small neighborhood café in Paris. A warming bowl of the soup made an excellent lunch, but much to my surprise, when I recreated it at home, I discovered that this potage was equally tempting when served at room temperature or chilled. Voilà—an answer for what to serve on a chilly or a warm day during this in between season.
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Warm or Cool Carrot Soup with Coconut and Lime
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
One 13.5 to 14-oz can light coconut milk (see market note)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock
4 tsp fresh lime juice
4 tsp chopped cilantro, for garnish
1. In a large, heavy saucepan (with a lid) over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and sauté, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the carrots and stir 4 more minutes.
2. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth or vegetable stock, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, 25 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree the soup in a food processor, blender or food mill, and return it to the pot. (Or, use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot.) Stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
3. If serving chilled, cool, cover, and refrigerate 5 hours or overnight. After the soup is well chilled, taste and season with more salt if needed since chilled soups often need extra seasoning. (The soup can be prepared 2 days ahead; cover and refrigerated. Reheat if serving warm.)
4. Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of cilantro. Serves 4
Market note: Light coconut milk is available in many supermarkets in the Asian section. Do not substitute cream of coconut, which is sweetened, for coconut milk, which is unsweetened.
Adapted from Soup Nights by Betty Rosbottom (Rizzoli Oct 2016) Photo by Harry Zernike.