It’s all about the light really, isn’t? These holidays ~ Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, New Year’s? Aren’t we all in some way, each in our own way, celebrating light? Its sustenance… its return… its birth… its miracle… its warmth… our dependence on it….
I had a teacher who used to say, “Eat Light. Plants do. Why can’t you?”
In this darkest of seasons, here is a soup of sunlight. With its saffron swirl, it offers vitamins A, D and E to strengthen your color and sight, and selenium to keep your moods sunny and bright. It’s a warm break from winter’s toil, and another good reason to celebrate the return of light, and the approach of a new year.
The brazil nuts offer a rich base note to the carrots’ creamy sweetness, while the tarragon weaves through with a unique pungency, and the orange zest gives that bite of bitter that makes it all beam. It’s so simple, you might be surprised by what a grand dish it makes.
Carrot Tarragon “Sunshine” Soup
2 t ghee (or coconut oil)
1/2 t ground turmeric
2 t tarragon, chopped (dried is okay if you can’t find fresh)
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1″ piece of ginger, peeled
1 lb carrots
1/4 t sea or pink salt
1 dash red pepper flakes
2 cups vegetable broth
8-10 brazil nuts, lightly toasted
Roughly chop your carrots, onion, garlic, ginger. Grate the orange peel to make about a teaspoon of zest and set aside. Juice the orange and measure out about 1/4 cup.
Melt 1 teaspoon ghee in a sauce pan on low heat. Add the turmeric and 1 teaspoon of the tarragon to the ghee and give it a good swirl. Add the chopped vegetables, red pepper flakes and half the salt. Allow this to “sweat” by cooking on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent.
Turn up the heat, add the broth, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat so it just lightly boils for about 10-15 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.
Put your toasted brazil nuts, and a bit of the soup mixture in a blender and mix until the nuts are completely broken down and throughly integrated. Pour in the rest of the soup and purée. Add water if the consistency is too thick. Pour the purée back into the sauce pan, cover and warm over a low heat.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining ghee in a small saucepan. Add the remaining salt and tarragon. Stir over a very low heat for about one minute. Turn the heat under the soup off. Stir in the orange juice. Ladle into bowls, drizzle with the tarragon “butter” and sprinkle with orange zest. Serve piping hot.
On a recent day devoted to cleaning out the pantry, we had it for lunch with gf crackers and this cilantro pesto. But it’s not just a worker’s lunch. In elegant bowls garnished with a stalk of fresh tarragon, it would be an inspiring starter for a New Year’s dinner. I’m sure Champagne’s sparkle would delightfully pair with this bowl of sunshine.
I wish you a Happy New Year ~
With light and love in every bite!