Carrot and Star Anise Soup

January 12, 2016

Carrot Soup 605x408

The humble carrot has adorned our tables for centuries, almost to the point it’s forgotten and just becomes another ancillary to our roast dinners or mid-week pork chops.

I love them just as they are though: steamed, grated in to a slaw, mashed, even used in baking, such as my simple, moist carrot cake.

These tasty taproots have a rich history, originating in Persia they are now cultivated all over the world. In blighty though, they are in right in season now. Another little known fact is, the reason carrots are orange is because in the 17th century, Dutch cultivators grew a special orange variety as a tribute to William of orange, King of England from 1689 until his death in 1702. You can get purple and white varieties, all having their own unique characteristics.

As is often the case this time of year, people’s wallets are a bit on the light side, so not only did I want an easy and healthy recipe, but I also wanted it to be one that wouldn’t break the bank. The addition of star anise to my soup recipe gives it an Asian flavour, lifting the natural sweetness of the carrots and turning what is a simple soup in to something new. Now I like mine quite strong, but if you want a more subtle anise flavour, just add 2 instead of the 3 stated. This soup will also freeze, so you can make a big batch.

Ingredients – serves 4 as a starter

  • 600g carrots roughly chopped, no need to peel, just take off tops
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 2 celery sticks diced
  • 2 small potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 fat garlic clove
  • 500ml of chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil plus extra for garnish
  • Knob of butter to finish the soup
  • Sliced almonds, crème fraiche (optional)

Method

  1. You don’t need to be too fastidious with your chopping, just as long as the potatoes, carrots, onion and celery are all roughly the same size, it will be fine. In a large pot add the olive oil, sliced onion and celery and fry gently on a low heat for about 10 minutes until translucent and soft.
  2. Now squash the garlic clove with the side of a knife and add this along with the carrots, diced potato and star anise. Stir thoroughly and gently fry for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Next add the stock, cover with a lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the carrots are nice and tender. After which, remove the star anise and discard. Blitz the soup in a blender (you may need to do this in batches) until completely smooth. If you want a more refined soup, you can pass through a sieve if you like.
  4. Return the soup to the pan and season with salt and pepper and the sugar. Simmer on low for a few minutes and add a bit more stock or water if you want a thinner soup. Finish with a knob of butter to give it extra flavour and shine. Serve in nice bowls and top with a few dollops of crème fraiche, olive oil and sliced almonds.

The Outdoor Market is home to a range of fresh fruit and vegetable traders, and is open from 7:00am to 6:00pm, Monday to Saturday.

You’re sure to find some ingredients to give you cooking inspiration! 

Adam-Garratt-Bio-Box