Carrot Curry Soup you can make if you don’t cook

So I am making carrot curry soup today and thought I would share the recipe.  This is for people who don’t normally (or never) cook.  I realize there are those of you who cook often – I am not being condescending, I just realize that some people don’t cook and may like to.  This is a go to recipe for a quick, easy, healthy, yummy recipe with easy to find ingredients. I know that sounds cliche but this is really one of the best things you will put in your mouth that you can make yourself.

So to get started:

Equipment you will need:

1 sharp knife – like a butcher knife

1 sauce pan with sides at least 4 – 5 inches high – this is important in making soup

1 cutting board to use with the knife

1 big spoon

1 cup measure

1 Tablespoon measuring spoon

1 teaspoon measuring spoon

1 carrot/potato/vegetable peeler (they are called different things but they all work the same)

Stick Blender:  I put this with great hesitation.  Here is a link to amazon.com just so you can see what it looks like.  A blender will work also, but will leave you cursing and you will never want to cook again.  A stick blender is a good investment.  It is relatively cheap, it is small so it won’t take up much room, and it is easy to clean.  I love mine.  I know for you who don’t cook this seems intimidating but compared to a blender this is will be cake.  Take a look http://www.amazon.com/Kalorik-MS-18676L-200-Watt-Immersion-Handheld/dp/B001A5W6HY/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1323986705&sr=8-11  This one is kind of cutesy, but it is inexpensive.  You can get these at Target, Kmart, Walmart etc.  Just so you get a return on your investment I will post another fabulous and easy recipe using your stick blender.

If you have a blender and want to use it, go ahead, I will put in some notes at that point.  It will be messy and hard to clean.

Ingredients to have before your start:

3-5 carrots – if the carrots are smaller than your finger use 5, if they are bigger than 2 of your fingers put together use 3 or 4.  Try and find long carrots – as long as a 12 inch ruler if you can find them.

Onion – 1 yellow or white onion.  You will only use 1/3 of it.  Onions are cheap, so you can either make more soup or toss the rest.  No one will starve if you toss 2/3 of an onion.

2 boxes of stock – use chicken, or if  you are a vegetarian use vegetable or mushroom stock.

Olive oil – or if you are feeling decadent butter – just get the smallest amount that is available

Curry Powder – do not be afraid. every store has curry powder.  If you like curry powder be adventurous in the spice aisle – there are red and green curry powders also.  If you have never had or have only a passing relationship with curry powder buy the store brand, the cheapest brand or whatever says mild.  Try it once – you can use it on a sliding scale.  If you HATE curry powder substitute dill, also in the spice aisle.  This won’t be as good, but will still be good.

Honey – buy the little bear.  If you have some little packets left over from KFC that will work in a pinch

Salt

Optional:  Bread or crackers to go with soup.  Also salad mix and dressing.  Whatever you like with soup.

1 Head of Real Garlic

CAUTION:  When you go to the next steps you must do JUST this.  Don’t answer the phone, send a text, twitter, watch TV or Internet.  This should take, barring a disaster which does happen in cooking, less than an hour before you can once again re-engage with the world both digital and real.

The Next step after you have your equipment and ingredients:

1.  Take the onion and chop off 1/3 of it on the cutting board.  Put the other 2/3 in a ziploc bag (to contain the onion smell) and put it away in the fridge or somewhere.  There should be on the end of the onion a little top (or bottom) part sticking out.  It will be all dried out and gnarly looking.  Chop that off – try to chop off as little as possible when you do this.  Peel off the outside papery part.  You want the onion to be uniformly yellow or white color.  Now, carefully use the knife and chop up  onion.  The smaller the pieces the better.

Hint – when you chop onions the smell may be overwhelming – your eyes may water and sting.  That’s what onions do.  There is a gadget that makes this much easier.  Here is a link so you know what it looks like –

http://www.amazon.com/OXO-Good-Grips-Mini-Chopper/dp/B0002YTFS2/ref=sr_1_8?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1323987271&sr=1-8

Fairly cheap, easy to use and if you rinse it immediately after you use it ease to clean.  Also no more tears!  Just hit top of few times and voila!

Put the chopped onions in a bowl or somewhere off to the side.

2.  Peel the carrots with the carrot peeler.  Peeling straight into the garbage can makes this much less messy.    Peel away from you so you don’t accidentally peel your fingers.

3. Chop off the bottom and top of the carrots (about the size of  the end of your pinky finger) get rid of the ugly root parts.

4.  Chop the carrots into rounds – in other words lay the carrot flat on the cutting board and chop from one end to the other.  The smaller the rounds the faster it will cook – try to make them 1/2 inch or less.  Try to make them all the same size.  I know that seems impossible.  After practice it does get easier but in the beginning they will all be different sizes.  That is OK.  Chop slowly so you don’t chop your finger.  Put the chopped carrots in a different bowl off to the side.

5.  Pry one garlic clove off from the head of garlic.  This may be trickier than it sounds – sometimes they come off easier than others.  You will have to peel through the white papery outer shell to get to the individual cloves inside.  If you don’t want to use real garlic (so much better though)  you can substitute 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder which you can find in the spice aisle.  Now take the garlic glove and put it on the cutting board.  Turn your knife so the flat side is toward you – the sharp edge should be pointing horizontally away from you.  Put the flat side of the knife on the garlic clove and then use the palm of your hand and smash (I mean smash!) the garlic clove.  Twice.  You should now be able to separate pretty easily the papery part of the garlic clove from the actual garlic.  I know its alot of work for garlic, but it makes a difference.

The difference between good food and just stuff you shovel in your mouth is these small things like using real garlic.  They take a few more minutes and in a whole recipe those small things can add up – I know.  Just believe that they are worth it.  When you eat good food that you have cooked just take a minute and savor it.  We need those good moments.

Onward –

6.  Put the saucepan on the stove and turn the temperature to one notch less than medium heat (or one notch less than the the middle temperature, whatever that is on  your stove).  This is the part that gets tricky because every stove is different.   Put 2 Tablespoons oil into the pan right after your turn it on.  Immediately get your onions and put them on the stove next to the pan (not on the heat – on the part of the stove that isn’t hot).  Now put your kitchen timer on for 3 minutes.

*If your oil starts to SMOKE take it off the heat,  turn down the temperature at least 2 notches.  Then dump out the oil (Not down your drain) and start over with new oil.*

After the timer goes off put one piece of the onion into the pan.  If the it sizzles and bubbles you can put the rest of the onion in.  If it just sits there put the timer on for another 2 minutes.  Then try again and check and see if the piece of onion is moving around and bubbles are coming up.   Once the onions are in add a little salt (by a little I mean shake your salt shaker two times over the pot, or grind your salt grinder 2 times over the pot.  You can always add salt at the end if it is not salty enough.)

7 . Curry –  This is where you add curry or dill.  For curry – if you’ve never had curry, don’t like curry but are willing try, or don’t really know if you like it or not just take your teaspoon measure and put in enough curry to fill less than half of the measuring spoon.  How much less than half depends on how much curry you are willing to try.  At this amount it is not going to make a huge difference – promise.  If you like curry add a half of the teaspoon, or the whole teaspoon.  If you are adding dill add 2 teaspoons of dill – this spice is not as strong so it will not be spicy at all.  Stir in the curry.

8.  Turn down the temperature by 1 notch.  You should still hear the onions make a sizzling sound (It is not crazy to put your ear down by your pot and listen).  If you don’t hear anything turn the heat back up.  Now set your kitchen timer for 5 minutes.  Stay by the pot and stir occasionally – by occasionally I mean not continuously, but about once a minute.  This time it takes to cook the onions is one of the small things that makes good food in the end.

9.  When the timer goes off add the carrots and the garlic.  Yes the garlic will be whole or in big chunks – no big deal because the soup will be pureed and it will all be pureed together – you will not be eating big chunks of garlic – I promise!  Add another small amount of salt.  Stir it all together.  If you are using garlic powder this is when you would add the garlic powder.  Set your kitchen timer for another 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

10.  After the kitchen timer goes off add in 2 teasp0ons of honey.  This bit is messy (honey is always messy) but is well worth it in the end.  Stir everything together.

11.  Add 3 cups of the stock to the onion/carrots in the pot.  Stir.  There will still be some stock left in your boxes.  You may need it.  You may not – Do not be afraid to throw away extra stock.  Do not let that stop you from trying this recipe.

12.  Turn the heat up to medium.  Watch until it boils.  There will be big bubbles coming up.  If it seems to be taking a long time to boil you can turn the heat up – carefully.  Turn it up one notch.  Once the soup is bubbling, turn down the heat one notch.  If you have a lid for your pan, cover it.  If not that’s ok also.  Set the kitchen time for 30 minutes.  You are now free for 30 minutes.  Send a hurray for me  text or twitter and then invite everyone over for soup – you have 30 minutes to clean up!

13.  After the kitchen timer goes off take a fork and poke the biggest piece of carrot you can find in the pan.  The fork should go in super easy and come out super easy.  Bonus points if the carrot splits in two.  The softer the carrot the better.   If the you have to push or have a hard time getting the carrot off the fork, set the kitchen timer for another 5 five minutes and then check again.

Once carrots are done turn off the stove and take the soup off the heat.  Put the pot on an oven mitt or hot pad near an electrical outlet in your kitchen.

Here are the directions if you have a stick blender:

Plug in the stick blender.  Put the end with the sharp blade in the soup.  Press the button on the handle (refer to your directions if this is unclear)  Make sure the blender is fully immersed in the soup before you press the button.  In the beginning when there are whole and chunks of carrot you will have to press the button and blend a litttle and then lift up and blend a little and push the blender down to the bottom and blend some more until all the chunks are gone.  Once the chunks are gone you will need to blend for at least one more minute to make the soup creamy and rich.  Now take a clean spoon and taste the soup.  If it seems to thick (more like a sauce than a soup) then microwave 1 cup of the leftover stock for a minute (Or until it is hot and steamy).  Add half to the soup and blend, and then try it again with a clean spoon.  If still too thick add the rest of the stock and blend.  You can add as much stock as you want – I prefer a rich hearty soup, but if you want a soup that is more like a broth that is fine.  If the soup seems a little bland add a little salt and taste it again with a clean spoon (make sure all yourspoons are clean before your start).  Now you have soup!

*Take the metal end of the stick blender (the part that was in the soup) and run it under hot tap water until there are not traces of soup left.  Let it dry and put it away.

If your are using a blender – God help you.  Assemble the blender (refer to your owners manual which I hope you kept).  Put in half the soup – half the liquid and half the carrots. Carefully blend – If your blender has a lid that has a removeable opening thingy (I hate blenders) you can take that out and put the lid on with the hole open and put a dish towel over the whole as you blend.  Do not blend without the lid or without cover up the hole – there will be armageddon in your kitchen.  Once the soup in the blender is blended, put in the other half and repeat.  Put the soup back in the pan and check for seasoning – add more stock if necessary and stir, or add a little salt if too bland and stir.  You may need to turn heat to low to get soup hot again.   Do what you need to do to get your blend clean without loosing any pieces.

OPTIONAL ADDITIONS:  You can add in a little dallop of soup cream to the soup once you have put some in your bowl.  Croutons are also good in crunched up and put in the soup right before you serve it.

BONUS:

If you cook alot and have made it this far here is the added extra difficulty points version:

for the carrots – before adding them to the onions (after chopping them) mix them with 1 teaspoon oil, a little salt,  and 2 tablespoons honey.  Spread them on foil lined cookie sheet. (If you do not do this you will ruin your cookie sheet)  turn your oven on broil and put the oven rack up to the top.  put in the cookie and watch carefully.  when honey mixture begins to bubble and smoke, stir the carrots.  Do this 3 times until all carrots have at least some brown/ burned looking to them.  Then add them to the onions AFTER the onions have cooked the full ten minutes by themselves with the curry/dill.  The rest of the recipe is the same.

This makes the recipe messy and hard to clean up.  Also  you run the risk of setting off your fire alarm, and possible having a soup that tastes burned if you actually burn the carrots too much.    You also risk ruining your sheet pan if you rip the foil and the honey burns onto the pan.  The result is SO good though.  The roasted carrots are amazing.

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