I want to know, right now, what is your go-to I Am On A Budget And Out Of Time But I Still Want Something Kind of Special Recipe?
I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours.
I’m going to bring you something special. Something that I’m going to refer to as a Unicorn Recipe. It’s a unicorn because it sits at this intersection where all these perfect aspects collide and it’s pretty uncommon to find something that is:
Not even remotely difficult*
Unintentionally vegan (where my vegans at?)
*it’s not even remotely difficult if you happen to have a hand-held stick blender. Which I know not everyone has. If you have an upright blender it’s still pretty easy but can’t really be considered “not even remotely difficult” because, like, hot soup in a blender doesn’t sound like something I want to dance with. But you do you! Maybe order a cheap stick blender on Amazon and have it delivered next-day? This is the one that I have. I don’t stand by it or anything–it just happens to be the one that I have.
Anyway this is a soup that I make probably once a month in the fall. And then I freeze the leftovers in Ziploc bags so that I’ve always got something on hand for those times when I’m exhausted and we need to eat dinner. Or it’s something nice to give to people who might want some soup?
Give of your unicorn soup, brothers and sisters.
Another thing about this recipe is that it’s one of those things that I’ve been making for so long that the recipe just lives in my brain. So this last time that I made it, I tried really hard to write down all of the ingredients and not just mindlessly toss it all in the pot on instinct like I ordinarily do. So I’m going to do my very best. There aren’t that many ingredients in here unless you count the spices. And, frankly, there isn’t a right or wrong way to season this. Once you’ve got the main ingredients in there, you just follow your instincts. If you trust your instincts. I trust your instincts. It’s only soup. It’s not neurosurgery.
For me, I like the Chinese Five Spice more than anything else so I tend to lend a heavy hand there. But other people may want to omit that all together and just season with curry? Or heck, just salt and pepper! That’s cool. You know what you like. Or, you will.
2 T. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
4-6 crushed garlic cloves
1 T. Chinese Five Spice
1 t. ground red pepper
1 t. Hot Madras Yellow Curry Powder
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. turmeric (I add this specifically for coloring purposes only)
2 lbs peeled, roughly chopped carrots (or baby carrots)
2 32 oz boxes of vegetable stock
- In a soup pot over medium-high heat, sweat the onions and garlic in olive oil. Cook until they are translucent (5-6 minutes).
- Dump in all of the spices and stir until the onions and garlic are coated and continue to cook for a few minutes before adding carrots. This helps the spices to bloom a little bit before getting washed away with all of the liquid.
- Add vegetable stock. Depending on the size of your pot you may not use it all (or you could need more–you can supplement with water). Just add stock until it covers the carrots and bring to a boil. Cover and allow to boil until the carrots soften. For me it was about 20 minutes or so. But that could change depending on the size of your carrots.
- Once your carrots are soft enough that you trust the strength of your blender to puree them, go to town! Use your immersion blender (or transfer, in batches, to an upright blender) to puree until smooth!
- From here, you are basically done. Unless you’re not pleased with the texture of your soup. If it’s too thick for you, thin it out with water or stock. If it’s too thin for your tastes, as it was for me, bring to a gentle simmer and reduce until it reaches a consistency of your liking. Make sure to continue stirring so that it doesn’t burn.
And there you have it! I like to serve mine with a dollop of plain yogurt and a spritz of lime juice on top. The longer it sits, the deeper the spices get. I brought this soup to a family get together and I really wish that I’d remembered to bring yogurt since a lot of people mentioned that it was really, really spicy. The yogurt definitely cools it down and adds an extra punch of flavor.
Other things that I have added to this soup in the past depending on what I had on hand:
apples (sounds weird but it goes so well with the cinnamon and clove in the five spice).
I really hope that you try this and tell me what you did differently and how did that work out? We’re all learning.
And PLEASE SHARE YOUR UNICORN RECIPES IN THE COMMENTS! THE WORLD NEEDS WAY MORE UNICORNS!