Carrot Bisque with Banana and Coconut Milk
It seems like as soon as winter really kicks in to full speed, all of my spoons are instantly dirty. My bowls, too, star stacking up in the sink. Everything is bowl food. Chunky soups in broth, pureed soups made of vegetables and some kind of cream or milk. So I hope you're thinking of getting on a soup kick as well, because I have a handful of recipes coming up for steaming bowls you can wrap your hands around for mitten-less warmth. Of course, soups are comforting, and if they're made of carrot they can bring a splash of welcome color to the grayest of days. They're also a great way to eat vegetables without feeling like you're eating the dregs of winter.
This velvety Carrot Bisque is from the January/February issue of Vegetarian Times, to which I treated myself on the flight back to New York from Denver after the holidays. Both sweet and spicy, a ripe banana gets puréed with carrots and a healthy serving of coconut milk, making it at once exotic and homey. And at the end, for extra good measure, a spoonful of coconut milk reduction gets swirled into the purée.
Sweet & Spicy Carrot Bisque
Adopted from January/February 2011 issue of Vegetarian Times
Canola oil for the pan
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4" rounds
1 ripe banana, sliced
1 14oz. can coconut milk, divided
juice from 1 lime, to taste
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion with a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the onions are soft. Add the ginger and continue cooking for a minute until the ginger is fragrant, then add the curry powder, the cayenne and 1/4 cup water. Stir the mixture so that the onion is well-coated with the mixture.
Add the carrots, the banana, 1 teaspoon of salt and 4 cups of water. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, uncovered. Carrots should be soft enough to pierce with a fork. Take the soup off the heat. You can purée your soup in a blender, or, if you prefer a little texture and less clean-up, use an immersion blender. Return the soup to low heat, and stir in 1 cup of coconut milk and lime juice to taste.
In a small saucepan, simmer the rest of the coconut milk over medium-high heat until reduced by half. This should take about 10 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and swirl in a spoonful of the coconut milk reduction. Serve.