Every year, in the spring, I start to crave carrots like nobody’s business. This usually escalates until I make at least one if not two carrot dishes for Easter supper. [Oh, and carrot birthday cake…don’t get me started on carrot birthday cake…] This year’s carrot craving came early – in the fall of 2014, and it hasn’t gone away. So, I’m accepting it as a healthy impulse to be nourished at every opportunity. This soup has become one of my favourite invented recipes of the winter…It brings together my beloved carrots, with my favourite, cleanse-friendly legume: crispy green lentils. And its flavours are developed with the beautiful Preserved Lemons we learned to make last spring, as well as one of my favourite spice blends, Ras el Hanout. The blend I use is a mixture of: paprika, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, allspice, mace, white pepper, rosebuds, nutmeg, cloves, saffron and bay leaves. What a way to keep warm in the winter!!!
Roasted Carrot Soup with Lentils, Preserved Lemon and Ras el Hanout
- 8 large carrots [peeled optional] and chopped into 1 in coins
- 1 medium sweet onion sliced medium thin
- 4-6 cloves garlic peeled
- 4-6 tbs canola or olive oil
- 1-3 quarters preserved lemon skin on rinsed and seeds removed or 3-5 quarters preserved lemons, rinsed, skin and seeds removed [optional]
- 7-8 c stock [vegetable or chicken] kept hot in a pot on a stove or via the microwave
- 1 cup brown green or french lentils [canned may be used in a pinch]
- Ras el hanout [or garam masala or any other preferred spice blend]
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 475.
- Toss carrots, onions, garlic, and preserved lemon in oil with 2 tsp ras el hanout [or other spice blend] and pepper to taste
- Spread on a parchment-lined roasting pan and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until beautifully browned.
- Wash lentils in a strainer or colander.
- Transfer lentils to a saucepan and add 2 cups stock [or water], .25 tsp salt, and 1 tsp ras el hanout [or other spice blend]
- Bring to a full rolling boil and then reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
- Simmer lentils uncovered for approximately 30 minutes until cooked and crisp, not mushy, adding stock [or water] if necessary to keep lentils just barely covered at all times.
- [We add about 1 c stock or water to the lentils during the cooking process.]
- [For canned lentils, simply rinse and combine with about .5 c stock and spice and heat through]
- In a blender or food processor, blend roasted vegetables in small batches with 1-2 cups of stock until smooth.
- [You may want to reserve the preserved lemons from the roasted tray and puree separately, adding pureed lemon to taste. We like a strong lemon flavour, so we used 3 quarters, skin on, and blended them right in!]
- Place pureed soup into a large pot on the stove or into a large serving vessel.
- Add remaining hot stock until your soup has reached your preferred consistency.
- Strain the lentils.
- Add the lentils to the soup and stir until just combined.