Creamy carrot soup with ginger, orange and ras el hanout

by Christine Knight

If you (like me) are an Ottolenghi fan, then you (like me) may well have three-quarters of a tin of ras el hanout sitting in your spice cupboard, rapidly losing its fragrance. If that’s the case, I recommend first of all making my friend Helene’s amazing veggie cobbler – or estofado del zapatero – with butternut squash and ras el hanout. You may never feel the need to move on, but if you do fancy something not quite as colourful, but hopefully just as comforting, try this soup.

Serves 4

1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tbs olive oil
knob of butter
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ras el hanout
750g carrots, trimmed and roughly chopped (no need to peel)
500ml (2 cups) vegetable stock (I use Marigold stock powder)
180-250ml (¾-1 cup) single cream
juice of half an orange

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion for a few minutes, until just softened. Add the fresh ginger and continue to saute until soft but not coloured. Then add the ground ginger and ras el hanout and saute for a further minute.

Add the carrots and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are very soft.

Transfer to a jug blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pan, add the single cream and reheat gently. Turn off the heat and whisk in the orange juice. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.

I like a soup that’s thick enough to park a bike in. If you prefer something thinner, just add more stock, cream or orange juice until you have the consistency you would like.

You can garnish this with a swirl of cream, some orange zest, or even a tiny pinch of ras el hanout. Don’t be tempted to add yoghurt (learn from me!) – the sourness doesn’t work with the flavour of the soup, which is creamy, sweet, warm and spicy.