This is being posted in response to a reader request. I’m sorry I don’t have a more detailed post, but here it is. This is an easy soup to make, and it works well with all kinds of meals. Easy to spice up and spice down, depending on the palates of your guests.
Spiced Carrot Soup
The New York Times Dinner for Eight, by Denise Landis
This light soup, known in India as gaajar (carrot) shorba (soup), is an appetite stimulant. Simply presented and gently spiced without being hot, it is a fine introduction to the remainder of the meal. It can be made ahead (through step 3), and reheated to serve.
5 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled, and cut into chunks
1 two inch piece of cinnamon stick
3 green or white cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1/3 tsp. crushed black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
12 cups (2.5 quarts) stock or broth
1/3 tsp. cayenne pepper
Whole fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
1. Place the carrots in a food processor and process until they are chopped small; set aside. In a double or triple layer of cheesecloth or a large mesh tea ball, combine the cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Tie or fasten securely so the spices are contained and will not fall out; set aside.
2. In a large saucepan or stockpot, combine the stock, carrots, cayenne, and spice mixture. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
3. Discard the spice mixture. Place a fine meshed strainer over a large bowl. Transfer one third of the soup to a blender, puree until smooth and then pour it into the strainer. Repeat with the remaining soup until all is pureed and strained. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate.
4. To serve, heat in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Gently reheat until steaming and season with salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish each bowl with a few cilantro leaves.