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CARROT SOUP WITH LEMONGRASS

Eating Local
by Sur La Table with Janet Fletcher

With an aroma that fuses lemon, ginger, and mint, lemongrass lurks in the background here. Tasters may not identify the fragrance, but they know the carrots are getting an assist. Because teh carrot flavor is delicate, make sure your broth is not too intense. A tip from Vicki Westerhoff of Genesis Growers: "When our carrots are coming in fresh with awesome greens, I always make carrot top soup. You can also use the greens sparingly in juicing and in salads."
Serves 6 to 8


INGREDIENTS

• 3 lemongrass stalks
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
• 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
• 1½ quarts chicken or vegetable broth (if canned, use equal parts broth and water), plus more if needed
• Kosher or sea salt
• Thinly sliced fresh chives, for garnish


DIRECTIONS

1. To trim the lemongrass, cut off the fibrous, leafy tops and the hard base from each stalk. Cut the trimmed stalks into 3-inch lengths. With the side of a cleaver or a rolling pin, smash the stalks firmly enough to break the fibers.

2. Melt the butter in a large pot over moderate heat. Add the shallots and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots, broth, and 6 pieces of the lemongrass and bring to a simmer. Taste and add more lemongrass if you don't perceive a subtle lemony-gingery taste. When you are satisfied that you have added enough lemongrass, partially cover the pot and simmer gently until the carrots are cooked, about 25 minutes.

3. Remove the lemongrass pieces with tongs and let the soup cool slightly. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth, in batches in necessary. Return the soup to a large, clean pot and thin, if desired, with more broth or with water. Season with salt. Reheat to serve and divide among warmed soup bowls. Garnish each portion with the chives.
 

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