The original plan was to make recipe numero dos in my quest to cook the book Easy Vegan – Simple Recipes for Healthy Eating. But then I found the bag of baby carrots in the freezer.
If this freezing had been planned, the carrots would have been blanched first, then frozen. Alas, this had not been the case. Still, it was a goodly amount of carrots and I hated to just throw them away. There had to be a way (a safe from food-borne illness way) to use these now thawed, soggy carrots.
Plan A: Roast them. So I thawed the carrots, drained as much water away as I could, then put them on a baking pan in a single layer. I seasoned the carrots with poultry seasoning (no worries, vegans – this is just a label for a combination of spices you probably have in your pantry right now) and some sea salt. 30 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven later – I thought Plan A had been the right approach.
Result: Hot, well-seasoned, and soggy carrots. Obviously, I needed a new plan.
Plan B: Saute them. I had a spare bit of Earth Balance Butter so why not toss the roasted carrots into a skillet and see if adding some buttery flavor would help. The carrot texture was still limp and soggy at the start; I was hoping the transfer of heat through conduction would steam the remaining water from the carrot’s cells, thusly reviving the original texture of a solid carrot.
Result: Very hot, well-seasoned, buttery, and still soggy carrots. Yes, you are right – time for the next plan.
Plan C: Make a soup. If there were any unwanted bacteria on the carrots due to the unplanned freezing, the roasting, sauteing and now soup-making should have been to kill those nasty things off. Chef’s tip: reducing the risk from unwanted bacteria is one very important reason why you blanch carrots first, then freeze them.
Result: It worked!
Since I do not want you to deal with accidentally frozen, unblanched carrots, let’s assume we are starting from scratch here. Try this recipe if you want a nice hot soup that tastes good, keeps the chill away, and is probably good for you!
1.5 – 2.0 pounds of fresh carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks the size of large wine corks
4 Tablespoons (or more if you dare) of fresh ginger, chopped.
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoon of black peppercorns
4 cups vegetable stock
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup coconut cream, or full-fat coconut milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place carrots on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the carrots- not too much, just a quick drizzle over all of them.
Sprinkle poultry seasoning and sea salt on top. Again, not too much, but make sure every piece of carrot has some seasoning.
Bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Turn the carrots every once in a while if they start to char up on the underside. Nobody likes burned carrots. Not even rabbits.
When done, remove from the oven and let rest. Now go look for your food processor or blender. It’s that device hiding in the back of the lowest cupboard shelf you have. That’s where the things you need always end up. See it? Good.
You may have to do this next part in batches, depending on the size of your food processor/blender.
Put the roasted carrots into the food processor. Adding the fresh ginger, garlic, peppercorns, and a cup or so of the vegetable stock, puree the ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a stock pot.
Once all of the carrot mixture is in the stock pot, stir in the remaining vegetable stock, sugar, and coconut cream. Keep stirring occasionally, and heat the soup until it just starts to boil. Now turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes. Continue to stir every once in a while, just to keep carrot solids from sticking to the bottom of the stock pot.
Once done – serve it up! And what you don’t use? Why, you can freeze it, of course.
I hope you have enjoyed my tale of kitchen (mis)adventures. And I hope you enjoy the soup!