Creamy Carrot Soup

The magic of this soup is that it’s creamy without any cream. When the vegetables are blended together, they develop a luxurious silky texture and stay fresh and light with the addition of orange juice. Keep this soup in the fridge and freezer year-round to serve as a light lunch anytime or as part of a bigger meal. Or use leftovers to turn into another dish altogether, like Carrot Pasta with Poppy Seeds.

Both chipotle and pimentón deliver the smokiness of roasted chiles, which brings out the earthy sweetness of carrots that orange juice heightens as well. The floral zing of pink pepper ties the sweetness and smokiness together.

Recipe by Lior Lev Sercarz, from “Mastering Spice” by Lior Lev Sercarz

Makes 7 cups, serves 4-8

Make ahead:

Refrigerate the soup for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. The ingredients can be prepped the day before cooking.

Ingredients

Spice Blend
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin seeds (4 grams)
1 teaspoon pink pepper (2 grams)
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (1/4 gram)
3/4 teaspoon pimentón (smoked paprika; 2 grams)
Finely grind the cumin and pink pepper together and immediately mix with the chipotle and pimentón. (If you’d like more to sprinkle over the soup, make a double batch and reserve half for serving.)

Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
5 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
Kosher salt
9 medium carrots, scrubbed, halved lengthwise, and sliced
2 large celery stalks, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice with pulp (from about 2 oranges)

Instructions

1. To make the soup: Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat. When the oil is slightly warm but not hot, after about 30 seconds, add the spice blend and stir until the spices bloom and become very fragrant, about 30 seconds. Don’t let the spices burn.

2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until sizzling and aromatic, 1 to 2 min- utes. Add the onions, sprinkle generously with salt, and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes. Cover and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the saucepan occasionally, to soften the onions a bit and let the spices infuse the onions, about 8 minutes.

3. Add the carrots and celery and stir well to coat with the spices. Cover and cook, stirring and scraping occasionally, to soften the carrots and infuse them with flavor, about 8 minutes.

4. Add the orange juice, stir well, and cover. Cook for 5 minutes. Add 3 cups cold water, stir well, and increase the heat to high. Bring to a steady simmer. Season to taste with salt, cover, and reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are cooked through but still retain a fresh flavor, about 20 minutes.

5. Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth, working in batches if needed and adding more water if you prefer a thinner soup. If you want an extra-smooth soup, pour it through a fine-mesh sieve. If you want a richer soup, blend in 1 to 2 tablespoons more olive oil. Season to taste with salt.