This soup is spicy in a warming curry way, bright from the lemon juice, savory from the fennel bulb, and a bit sweet from the carrots. All in all, it uses few ingredients, cooks up fast, and is very easy to make. And best of all, it tastes absolutely delicious.
Ras el hanout is a North African spice blend. For this recipe, you can use store bought or make your own blend. While there can be quite a variety in terms of the spices used and the ratios of those spices, ras el hanout incorporates a good mix of warming spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc. It is often used in stews, tangines, marinades and rubs. This soup feels like it works best for spring or fall–really any time there’s a slight chill in the air. I love how it warms you up from the inside.
Spiced Carrot Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (note: I used 1/2 tsp, but the ras el hanout blend did not have cayenne in it)
4-5 large carrots ( or ~2 1/2 cups), chopped
2 medium fennel bulbs (or ~2 cups), chopped
2 cups broth (I used Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base mixed with water)
13.5 ounce can of lite coconut milk
2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1. In a large, heavy pot, add onion, garlic, olive oil and a dash of salt. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions are golden. Add the ras el hanout and crushed red pepper flakes. If it sticks a little, add a little more oil. Saute for 2 minutes over low heat.
2. Stir in the carrots, fennel bulb, broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and cover with a lid. Simmer for ~20 minutes or until the carrots are soft. Blend all of the soup until it is completely smooth (either use an immersion blender or transport the entire contents of the pot into a blender). Stir in lemon juice and season with salt. Taste, and adjust flavor, if needed (more salt? More lemon?). Serve.