This is so simple. And delicious. It makes a lovely first course or an evening meal with some Spicy Peanut Noodles, Creamy Peanut Rice Noodles or some Cuban Ham Dip. It’s light, tasty and goes together quickly. It’s a perfect summer, mid-week meal. Carrots make a great soup and they work so well with ginger and these other yummy things. You may like to add half-and-half or coconut milk, if you want a creamier version. But, the flavors are cleaner without it. The carrot truly shines! We rather enjoy it this way. But, if that’s the route you want to go, add no more than 1 cup of either, instead of an equal amount of the broth. This is a perfect company dish, as you can make it early in the morning, refrigerate it and then reheat it for dinner. I prefer to reheat it. If you do use the half-and-half, reheat the soup, then add the dairy. The coconut milk reheats with no problems. TIP: Reheat over LOW heat. Yes, it takes longer, but you’ll have less problems, like sticking and curdling.
Let’s get to it…Sauté the onion, celery, garlic and Sichuan peppercorns until the onion softens a bit. Add the carrots, gingerroot, red pepper flakes, and broth and bring to a simmer. Cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender. I think the carrots are better when cooked slowly, over very low heat. It will take anywhere from 40 to 50 minutes.
While the vegetables cook, stir together the soy sauce, peanut butter, honey and sesame oil. It takes a little stirring to bring it together, but you want it to be smooth. If you need to, add a little of the broth to thin it out. Pour it into the pan. Give everything a good stir, and pop your immersion blender into the pot. Purée mixture (use caution when blending hot liquids—they can splatter!) until smooth. That’s it. You can do this early in the day or up to 2 days before serving (store in the fridge). Reheat, over low heat. You may serve this hot, or cold. If you’re serving it cold, make certain to taste it cold, then season. Garnish it as desired and serve.
Moment of truth? I served this cold and added some diced, cooked shrimp, for an easy, refreshing first course.
Sichuan Carrot Soup
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (no need to peel)
- a 1 1/2-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and shredded
- 1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (gluten-free if needed)
- 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 2-3 teaspoons honey
- 2-3 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- Kosher salt to taste
- Additional broth to thin or half-and-half (see NOTE)
- Garnish with finely chopped peanuts, chives and cilantro
In a large heavy saucepan, cook onion, celery, garlic and Sichuan peppercorns in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add carrots, gingerroot, red pepper flakes, and broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 50 minutes. While the vegetables cook, stir together the soy sauce, peanut butter, honey and sesame oil, until well combined. It takes a little stirring to bring it together. Pour into the pan, and pop your immersion blender into the pot. Purée mixture (use caution when blending hot liquids) until smooth. This can be done early in the day or up to 2 days before serving. Reheat, over low heat.
Serve soup with a sprinkle of each of the garnish ingredients.
NOTE: You may serve this soup chilled, but you will probably need to thin it slightly with additional broth or half-and-half. If you use the half-and-half, add it after you reheat or blend, as it may curdle otherwise.
Sichuan Carrot Soup Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020. All rights reserved.