Saturday, September 22, 2007

Armenian Carrot Soup (Havuc Corbasi)

This is classic Armenian cookery from deep Anatolia: a strong, rich soup with a touch of spice to it that lifts it and adds to its richness and warmth. I originally cooked this for a Ramadan special I was doing for a magazine because it is such a great alternative to that Ramadan staple, lentil shorba or soup. It's stayed with me ever since: a real winter treat.

  • 100g butter
  • 500g carrots
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 75 ml milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts

Peel the carrots, and chop them into small pieces. Melt half the butter in a saucepan and saute the carrots to cover them well with the butter. Chop the dill finely, and add this to the pan with 300ml of the water, the salt, pepper and the sugar. Boil and then reduce to low heat to simmer until the carrots are completely softened, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool and then liquidize.

Boil the remaining water in a large pan, add the carrot puree and stir in well. Simmer. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining butter. Stir in the flour and then slowly add the milk until the mixture smoothens. Heat until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat to cool a little, and then add the two egg yolks, stirring to blend and smoothen again. Add a ladle of the hot soup, and stir in well. Repeat until the egg and flour mixture has thinned, then pour this mixture into the soup, taking care not to boil it as this will cause the whole soup to curdle. Heat through, stirring, for five minutes. Serve sprinkled with the chopped walnuts.

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