Today I think I made my BEST soup ever. The surprise to me is that this is a soup (or at least a variation of it) that I make with some frequency. Why was it so much better this time?

I used local produce (carrots, potato and garlic) from Roots and Shoots Farm, my CSA partner.

I used mainly orange carrots. But to round out the two pounds I included two white carrots and two purple carrots.

The colour from the purple carrots bled out into the liquid while the soup was cooking.

However, when the soup was puréed, it gave the soup a beautiful muddy, earthy, deep burnt russet orange colour. Not the hue of pink I was fearing.

Since I did not have my own chicken stock, I used stock from The Glebe Meat Market on Bank Street. They sell it in 500 mL bags.

I used the Vitamix on the double high speed for an extended period of time to make the soup silky soft.

What did I like about this soup? I loved how the coriander stood out boldly against the sweetness of the carrots. I loved the undertone of heat from the cayenne. I was a little more heavy handed than usual. I was particularly pleased with my choice of garnish.

Most of all, I loved the colour.

CARROT AND CORIANDER SOUP

2 pounds carrots
1 potato
3 ounces butter
1 medium cooking onion, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 litre chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
plain yogurt
fresh cilantro
bacon

Peel the carrots and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces. Peel the potato and cut into small cubes.

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. When hot, add the onion and sauté while stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté while stirring until beginning to change color, 20-30 seconds.

Add the carrots, potato, and fresh coriander. Sauté, stirring a couple of times, for about 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, sugar, salt, bay leaf, celery salt, and cayenne pepper. Over medium heat bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover partially and continue simmering until vegetables are soft when pierced with the point of a knife, about 20-25 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Use a Vitamix or blender to purée the soup in small batches. The soup may be made ahead to this point; covered and refrigerated. (We use our Vitamix and it always gives a great consistency for soup.)

Return the soup to the saucepan let it simmer on a very, very low simmer to keep warm. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. If the soup is too thick, add more stock or water.

Garnish with a dollop of yogurt, chopped coriander leaves and crumbled bacon.

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