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Umami Carrot Soup with Mint
By Chef Jerry Traunfeld

  • Ingredients

  • 2 medium Leeks (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dried Whole Coriander Seeds
  • 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 pound Organic Carrots peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 teaspoon Organic Ginger finely chopped
  • 3 cups Carrot Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 bunch Spearmint
  • 2 teaspoon Organic Lemon juice freshly squeezed (add more if needed)
  • Garnish
  • Mint Leaves use tiny leaves or slice leaves thinly

  • Directions

  • Leeks

  • Cut off and discard the tops of the leeks at the point where they turn from light to dark green.

  • Split them lengthwise in half, keeping the roots attached so that the layers will not fall apart, and wash thoroughly.

  • Thinly slice the leeks into half circles, discarding the roots.

  • Toasting Coriander

  • Put the coriander seeds in a small, dry skillet and place it over medium heat.

  • Shake the pan constantly until the leeks begin to darken in color and smell wonderfully fragrant and toasty; be careful not to overcook.

  • Pour them out onto a paper towel to stop the cooking.

  • Using the towel as a funnel, transfer them to a spice mill and grind very fine.

  • If you don't have a spice mill, use a mini processor or blender.

  • Vegetables

  • Melt the butter in a medium (3-quart) heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.

  • Add the leeks and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Add the carrots, wine, and ginger.

  • Cook uncovered until all the liquid has boiled away, about 15 minutes, then continue to cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are slightly browned, about 10 minutes.

  • Don't rush this step, for it allows the natural sugars to slowly caramelize.

  • As the vegetables cook, keep scraping the bottom of the pan with the spoon to gather up any brown bits.

  • Soup

  • Add the carrot juice, coriander, and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and gently simmer over low heat until the carrots are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Mint Tea

  • Meanwhile bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan.

  • Submerge the mint in the water, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let steep for about 20 minutes.

  • Strain the tea, squeezing all the liquid out of the leaves.

  • Finishing the Soup

  • Put half of the soup in the container of an electric blender (you can use a food processor instead, but the soup will not be as smooth).

  • Hold the lid down with a dry towel and turn the blender on at low speed so that the soup doesn't splash up, then gradually increase the speed to high.

  • Add half of the mint tea.

  • Blend the soup until it is creamy and very smooth.

  • Pour the pureed soup into a second saucepan and repeat with the remaining soup and tea.

  • When all the soup is pureed, add the lemon juice and gently reheat.

  • Taste and add additional salt or lemon juice if needed.

  • Ladle the soup into warmed small bowls or demitasse cups.

  • Garnish with mint leaves.

  • Umami

  • This is a Japanese concept that food has umami when it's at its peak of perfection - a sublime, height of its season, handled with respect, and simply presented. This minted carrot soup evolved from a workshop and luncheon organized by food expert, consultant, and umami enthusiast Jon Rowley. It has a very concentrated flavor, and should be served in small bowls or cups to begin a meal. In the summertime it's delicious served chilled.