Mexican Carrot Bisque (VEGAN!!)

This creamy, rich soup, a recent invention born like most others from a random assortment of fridge items, is an intriguing variation on carrot soup. Some of the novelty arrives from using the same amount each of carrots, onions and green bell peppers, while the dried chile and sweeter spices are unorthodox for such a soup. Our Mexican Carrot Bisque is ideal for a starter course, especially during these colder months, but it could be the star of a light supper if served with a green salad and plenty of crusty/chewy bread, like a whole wheat baguette. If you don't have any guajillo peppers in your pantry, substitute an ancho chile or pasilla chile. Going through a famine of dried chilies altogether? Use equal parts cayenne pepper and smoked paprika instead, to your taste.

Begin as usual by heating 2 T. olive oil in a large saucepan. Add to the pan 1 lb. peeled and chopped carrots, 1 large (or two smaller) green bell pepper(s) (chopped) and 1 very large onion (chopped). Cook on medium heat for 5 or 10 minutes, until the onions and bell peppers are fairly soft but not browned.

Sprinkle the veggies with 2 heaping teaspoons of cumin powder and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Drop in one large guajillo dried chile (after rinsing and removing the seeds). Stir for a minute before pouring in 6 cups vegetable stock. If you only have a quart box of the pre-made stock, use that and supplement with 2 cups of water. it'll be fine.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes or until the carrots are very soft. Allow to cool and then, in batches, puree till smooth in a blender. If you have an immersion blender, now would be the time to break it out.

Return the pureed soup to the pot and season with 1 t. salt and at least 1 t. black pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, adjust seasoning if needed and serve hot. Potential garnishes include chopped cilantro or parsley, sliced scallions, a tablespoon of diced radishes or a sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds.


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