Tasty Thursday

Continuing with the National Soup Month theme, we'd like to highlight another fantastic soup recipe from the beautiful cookbook Vintage Restaurant. Author Jeff Keys really knows what makes stomachs happy, and eating this tasty soup will do just that.

Szechwan Carrot Soup
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 fennel root bulb, washed and diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
20 ounces carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons peeled and thinly sliced fresh gingerroot
1-1/2 tablespoons light vegetable oil
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 teaspoon Sriracha (Asian chile sauce that is found at most supermarkets)
1 cup Thai coconut milk (also in the Asian section of most supermarkets)
2 tablespoons Vintage Basic Asian Marinade (see below)
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup cream

Basic Asian Marinade*
2 cups soy sauce (find one that is not too salty)
12 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon course ground black pepper
2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
10 cloves garlic, mashed and diced
3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger

To make the soup, saute the first five ingredients with the oil in a soup pot for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stock, chile flakes, and Sriracha. Cook on a low boil for about 35 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add coconut milk and cook for 5 minutes more. Add remaining ingredients and remove from heat. Le the soup cool a little. Puree the soup in small batches in your blender. At this point you can either reheat the soup and serve, or let it cool completely and store to serve later. It stores well for a few days in the refrigerator. Just reheat and serve. You may also garnish with pickled ginger and freshly snipped basil or sliced green onions.

To make the marinade, mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Makes 8 servings

*Use leftover marinade for your favorite meat. Take note that it is very strong and will absorb quickly into the meat. Marinate chicken or pork for only 5 minutes, leg of lamb for 15 minutes, and fish, or any other meat that you just want to flavor, put in and take out. Stores in the refrigerator for 10 days.

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