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Thai Carrot Puree

What you need: 

5 large carrots, sliced
1 small parsnip, finely chopped*
2 medium potatoes, diced
5 small shallots, chopped
1/2 large red onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
4-6 cups veggie stock**
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
3-4 keffir lime leaves***
1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1-2 dashes cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup split red lentils (added for texture and to round out the protein content of the soup--it's not an absolutely necessary ingredient)
1-2 tablespoons cooking oil

What you do: 

First off, arm your kettle with a few cups of water and turn it on, then grab a measuring cup and crumble your bullion cubes in there. This way you'll have your stock ready when you need it. Heat oil in large soup pot on medium heat, add shallots and red onion and fry until softened (about 3 minutes). Add carrots, parsnip and potato and continue frying for a few minutes, adding ginger and garlic just before you turn down the heat (garlic burns really, really quickly, destroying its flavour, and should always be added in the last stages of frying). Next throw in the coriander, basil, cinnamon, lime leaves (or half the lime zest) and split lentils. Pour in the stock and turn heat down on low, simmering for about 30-40 minutes (check it every now and then for consistency). When the veggies are noticeably boiled to somewhat of a mush, transfer to a food processor and whirl around until you're satisfied with the consistency... depending on my mood I like it chunky or really smooth. I'm visiting my parents for the holidays and they don't have a large food processor (just a little Cuisinart), so out of laziness I just mashed it right in the pot with a potato masher! (: If you're using lime zest, stir the rest in now, simmer for another 5 minutes and swirl 1-2 tablespoons of coconut milk into each bowl of soup just before serving.
Phew! Okay, I think that's it. If I've made a mistake I'll be sure to fix it right away. An omni friend of mine calls me the "Soup Nazi." I apparently "crushed his will to live." He refused to cook again after tasting my split pea and parsnip puree. I hope I can live up to my title when you try out this soup!! If you have any questions just post and I'll try to help you out. Good luck!
*The parsnip imparts a savory sweetness to the soup and needs to cook to complete mush to distribute the flavour, hence the 'finely chopped'.
**Depending on your taste and the stock you use, try 4 cups first, add more water if necessary. I highly recommend Harvest Sun's Organic Vegetable Bullion Cubes.
***If you don't have those, which I didn't tonight, try 1/2 teaspoon lime zest, adding 1/4 teaspoon of it when you start simmering the soup and 1/4 teaspoon before serving.. keffir lime leaves lend a milder more 'complex' flavour to the soup because they lack the sweet and citrusy character of lime zest. They help layer the different flavours present in the soup very well, but if your stuck lime zest will do.

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