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This carrot soup has a little bit of spice

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Let’s proceed on the theory that everyone likes soup, and some soups are better than others. You might think of squash for an autumn soup, but this bright soup of carrots, stewed with ginger and jalapeño and finished with a good squeeze of lime and a handful of chopped cilantro, is an example of how not to make the all-too familiar stodgy too-thick purée. Still, feel free to try it with kabocha or butternut squash. If the soup is not to be served immediately, cool after puréeing, and reheat just before serving — it will taste fresher.

Spicy Carrot-Ginger Soup

Ingredients:

• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 1 large yellow or white onion, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)

• 6 garlic cloves

Salt and pepper

• 2 pounds carrots, preferably young, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 4 cups)

• 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and sliced

• 1 (2-inch) chunk of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced, plus 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh

• 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, plus more as needed

• 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

• 1 tablespoon very finely sliced chives

• 1 small bunch cilantro

• 1 teaspoon lime zest

• 1 tablespoon lime juice

Directions:

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until onion and garlic have softened, about 10 minutes. Don’t let the mixture brown.

Add carrots, jalapeño and sliced ginger, and stir to coat. Add a little more salt.

Turn heat to high, add 6 cups broth and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to a brisk simmer and cook until carrots are completely tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the stove and let cool to room temperature, if possible.

While soup cools, make the ginger-chive cream: Combine the crème fraîche, grated ginger and chives with a pinch of salt in a small bowl.

When cool, transfer the soup to a blender (in batches, if necessary) and purée. Taste and adjust salt, and add as much additional broth as necessary to achieve the consistency of heavy cream; the soup should not be thick.

To serve, reheat soup over low heat. Check for seasoning and adjust. Roughly chop leaves and tender stems of cilantro, leaving aside a few sprigs for garnish. Stir lime juice and zest and 1 cup chopped cilantro into the soup. There should be little green flecks throughout the soup (cooling the soup first keeps cilantro fresher tasting). Ladle into bowls and top each serving with a spoonful of the ginger-chive cream and a few stems of cilantro.

Total time: 55 minutes, serves 4-6.

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