Monday, January 4, 2010

Market Fresh: Carrots

Carrots are often so present in our lives that we forget to take notice of them or use them as the highlight of a meal. Carrots are plentiful at this time of year, having been harvested in the fall and put in cold storage where they keep well through the winter.

There are a multitude of uses for carrots: soups, salads, side-dishes, carrot cake, carrot muffins, carrot souffle, carrot pudding, carrot bread, and as an addition to roasted vegetables, to name a few.

Today I have two recipes for carrots. The first is Carrot & Coriander Soup or perhaps it would be better "Americanized" by the title Carrot & Cilantro Soup. Cilantro, in most of the world, is known as coriander. This soup is a gentle, almost sweet soup, flavored with ground coriander and finished with fresh cilantro/coriander.

(adapted from a recipe at

2 Tbsp. canola oil (or other mild oil)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
1-2 tsp. ground coriander (depending on taste)
vegetable stock -- enough to cover vegetables
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
salt & pepper
cream or sour-cream or creme fraiche for serving

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add chopped onions and carrots and cook over medium heat until beginning to soften -- 4-7 minutes. Stir in the ground coriander and cook for another minute.

Add the vegetable stock, just covering the vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer until the carrots are tender.

Puree soup in a blender or with a hand blender until smooth. Return to pan, reheat briefly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the fresh chopped cilantro and serve with a dollop of sour cream, creme fraiche or a bit of heavy cream poured over. Garnish with additional chopped cilantro. Serve with bread and salad.

Serves 6.

This carrot salad is a quick dish I've made time and again, especially when I don't have any fresh greens in the house and need a salad to accompany dinner.

(from Everyday Food magazine)

2 Tbsp. olive oil (I use canola)
1 Tbsp. white-wine vinegar (I use red wine if I don't have white)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. sugar
salt & pepper
4 medium carrots, coarsely grated
1/3 c. raisins (or less)

In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, and sugar; season with salt and pepper. Add carrots and raisins. Toss to combine.

Serves 4.

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