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Life in Rural France

Living the French Dream….The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious

Carrot, Coriander and Chilli Soup

I don’t know about you but as winter approaches it puts me in the mood for soup. But not just any old soup, I’m talking about hearty homemade soup with crusty French bread, a serving of pate, all accompanied by a lovely bottle of red wine.

Sounds good doesn’t it? Too good to resist.

I have vivid memories of my Mum making the most amazing soups when I was younger that tasted absolutely divine. From french onion soup to broccoli and stilton.

So spurred on by my childhood memories, and my new found love of cooking absolutely everything from scratch, I decided it was time I gave one of these soups a go.

No tins of Heinz soup for me. I was going fresh all the way.

Now as it happened my wonderful French neighbour Stefan had recently brought round a whole load of carrots from his garden. He often pops in with various fruits and veg. A few weeks ago he dropped off some local mushrooms known as ‘ceps’ or ‘Boletus Edulis’ ‘Cèpes’. They’re wild mushrooms that grow all over France and are an edible variety. You have to be careful with mushrooms though as not all of them can be eaten.

Unfortunately though I’m really not a lover of carrots. I don’t know if it was just me but school dinners in the UK in the 80s always seemed to consist of carrots. It’s the only thing I can remember being on the menu, apart from chocolate flavoured custard and mashed potatoes served with an ice cream scoop.

Anyway, suffice it to say having been served carrots daily whilst in primary school I can no longer face the taste of them, so refuse to cook them.

However, in a soup it doesn’t seem to be the same. For some unknown reason vegetables taste different in soups to what they do when they’re boiled or roasted.

So determined to make use of the carrots and not waste them I phoned my Mum to get her recipe, the one she used to make when we were kids, and set about making my very first batch of carrot and coriander soup.

As always though, I couldn’t help but put my own little twist on the recipe by adding a teaspoon of chilli powder, just to give the whole thing a bit of a kick.

And it tasted divine, but that’s not the best bit. The beauty of this recipe was it literally took me no more than 15 minutes to prep and it allowed me to use my beloved slow cooker, which during our energy crisis is a Godsend as it’s so much cheaper to run than an oven.

Ingredients for Carrot, Coriander and Chilli Soup

Ingredients for carrot, coriander and chilli soup

1.5 Lb Carrots (carottes)
1 Potato (pomme de terre)
1 Onion (oignon)
1 litre Water (eau)
Garlic 2 squeezes from the tube (ail)
1 Chicken Stock Cube (bouillon de poulet en cube)
1 tbsp Creme Fraîche (crème fraîche)
2 tsp Ground Coriander (coriandre moulue)
½ tsp Turmeric (curcuma)
½ tsp Nutmeg (noix de muscade)
1 tsp Chilli Powder (poudre de piment)
Knob of Butter (beurre)
Pinch of Black Pepper (​​poivre noir)
1 tbsp Salt (sel)

Instructions for Carrot, Coriander and Chilli Soup

Slow cooker carrot, coriander and chilli soup

As always get all the ingredients out onto your worktop, grab a peeler, and get your slow cooker out and ready. Then peel your potato, carrots and onions and dice them finely. Remember, the smaller you cut them up the less cooking time required. You don’t need to go mad but try for around 1 cm in thickness for your carrots and 2 cms for your potatoes.

Once diced, pop them into the slow cooker and add your spices, butter, salt & pepper and stock cube. Pour your water over the top and cook on high for around 4.5 hours or 6 hours on low.

Once cooked, transfer the mix into your blender and blitz it until it’s combined and not too lumpy. Then add in your creme fraîche and blend until you have a nice smooth consistency.

Blended carrot, coriander and chilli soup

Word to the wise when it comes to blending. Make sure you only put in a bit at a time and pulse it rather than putting it on high speed. Otherwise, you’ll have a disaster like I did where the lid flies off and covers the walls, worktop and ceiling with soup.

Once you’ve blended then chop up your fresh coriander both stalks and leaves and have it ready to add as a topping.

As far as what to serve with your soup is concerned, I can’t think of anything better than fresh crusty bread. Here in France we have so many varieties we’re quite literally spoilt for choice.

Now I’m a sucker for pate so I tend to have a serve of pate to accompany the bread and soup and it turns it into a really substantial meal. And to finish it all off, washing a lovely glass of oaked cabernet sauvignon works wonders. The bottle we chose was from the Pays D’Oc wine region in Southern France.

Carrot, coriander and chilli soup with French crusty bread

Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Facebook to show me your hearty soup and let me know if you added your own twist to my Mum’s Carrot and Coriander soup.

À bientôt et merci beaucoup!

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