This soup combines sweet-tasting onions and carrots with a subtle spice mix to create an irresistible flavour that is just as delicious chilled as it is warm. Don’t skip the ras el hanout – it is a wonderful ground spice blend commonly used in many savoury Tunisian and Moroccan dishes as well as those from other North African countries. While the ingredients in ras el hanout vary from shop to shop, common elements often used are cardamom, clove, cinnamon, chili, coriander, cumin, paprika and turmeric. You can make your own blend, or buy a great version through Cardamom and Cloves, my favourite Canadian online spice shop. While I adore the lovely taste and cheerful colour of this soup, I also really love the fact that it only takes 15 minutes to prepare and it’s vegan and vegetarian friendly if you use vegetable stock! In Tunisia, sweet buns are often served with meals; here’s a healthy olive oil-based cinnamon bun recipe that would be perfect.
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) ras el hanout
- ½ cup (125 mL) chopped sweet onion
- 2 cups (500 mL) packed grated carrot
- 2 cups (500 mL) vegetable or chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) very finely chopped fresh mint, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) dukkah, for garnish *
* dukkah is a delightful mixture of herbs, nuts and spices that is used in many African cuisines, although its origins are said to be Egyptian. You can purchase it pre-made although it’s very easy to make your own.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add ras el hanout, stirring constantly.
- As soon as the spices begin to get toasted and fragrant, add onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Add grated carrots and stir well to coat with the spice mixture. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Add stock and cover pot; let come to a boil.
- Reduce heat and let simmer until carrots are tender (about 5 – 7 minutes).
- Add lemon juice.
- Puree using a blender (or an immersion blender).
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving time and reheat (or serve cold).
- Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of chopped frest mint and a teaspoon of dukkah.
- Note that the soup freezes beautifully and you can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe.
Makes 2 servings.