Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Slow Cooker Carrot and Coriander Soup

Short on time and heavy on carrots?  [They were on the Aldi super 6!]  Knock up this slow cooker soup with a bit of chopping and finish it off when it's wanted.  Time frugal as well as cost frugal!  I'm good to you aren't I?  [Well - to myself!!] Although carrot and coriander is one of my favourite soups I realised I don't have a single recipe written down for it, the horror!!  I made this up with a bit of looking at a parsnip recipe from Sophie Grigson's veg book.  It can just as easily be made conventionally on a hob as well as in a SC [in fact I finished it off on the hob] - just simmer for long enough until the veg are soft enough to blend rather than leaving them in the slow cooker for several hours.
Carrot & Coriander Soup
2 red onions (or use one decent medium sized yellow one - I happened to have red ones in the cupboard)
2 lg / 4 sml cloves garlic
1 tbsp EVOO
'Thumb' of fresh root ginger*
1.5 lb / 700g-ish carrots
0.5 lb / 225g-ish spuds
1.5pt veg stock plus 0.25pt or
0.25 pt milk to slacken soup if liked
Living plant coriander (69p-ish Aldi!) / big bunch of it
Knob butter
S + P
0.5 tbsp lime juice
A little grated cheese - medium - mature cheddar or red leicester I'd suggest

Put the oil in the SC and turn it onto 'high'.
Roughly chop the onions and add them to the SC.  Add the finely chopped garlic and stir.
Grate / zest or finely chop the root ginger and stir into the SC pot.
Roughly chunk the carrots - being frugal aware make sure you get all the veg from round the tops - see pic.
Peel and chunk the spuds.  (Most of the time I don't bother peeling veg but for a smoothish soup you're blending you really need to.)
Add both to the SC and pour on enough stock to cover.  Mine needed 1.5 pints.
Trim the leaves from your coriander and put them in a glass of water in the fridge.  Chop the rest of the stalks (you've probably got about 2-3"), ensuring you get all you can from the pot and stir them into the SC.
Turn the SC down to medium or low, depending how long you've got / are out of the house for.  Mine was on low for 6.5 hours.
Blend.  Don't be disappointed by the taste at this point.  Once we add the seasonings it comes into it's own.
When ready to eat retrieve the coriander leaves from the fridge, reserve a few for garnishing if liked and chop the rest.  Stir into the soup and gently reheat on the hob. 
It'll be quite thick so slacken with a little more stock / milk at this point if liked, or leave thick if that's your preference.  I added 0.25 pint milk.
Stir a knob of butter in and add salt and pepper to taste.  It did need salt to bring the flavours out.
Remove from the heat and stir the lime juice through. 
Serve scattered with a little grated cheese and the reserved coriander leaves.
This was really good - the zing added by the lime worked so well but next time I'd up the amount of ginger used.  Guess it depends how big your thumbs are!!* Adaptable too - just leave out the cheese, butter and milk for a vegan dish.  I can also see it working with a little coconut milk in place of the extra 0.25 pint liquid at the end.  As ever with any 'recipes' I make up it's adaptable as you wish / are dictated to by the fridge & cupboard contents.  More of a guideline than a strict recipe.  Just so long as it's enjoyed.  :-)
[I've noticed this post gets a fair few hits, if you try it out - and I hope you do, please leave a comment and let me know how you got on.  It'd be nice to find others enjoyed it too!]
* What in the world is a 'thumb' of ginger?  It really is one of the most useless measurements in the world.  What if you're a big burly bloke or a dwarf - the size of your piece of ginger will bear no relation at all to each others.  I can cope with a 'knob' of butter and a 'glug' of olive oil - in fact I now believe them to be measurements which mean 'enough to add the desired flavour to the dish and that you're comfortable with in relation to your waistline' but a 'thumb' of ginger?  I ask you!  (Although I suppose that it could be argued there's a potential for difference in 'knob' size as well...)

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