While I'm not a big fan of soups, I am a supporter of all things that can be cooked in a crockpot. There's nothing like coming home to a house that smells absolutely delicious and having a fully prepared meal waiting for you after a long day.
This soup is flavorful, vegan and makes a nice hearty but light dinner on a cold day. The recipe calls for a lot of spices - essentially making one's own curry powder - but I left off the traditional curry spice of fenugreek because I'm allergic to it.
Curried Carrot & Bean Soup
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks [if using baby carrots, cut them in half]
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 15 ounce can chickpeas or other bean of choice, rinsed and drained [or 1 1/2 cups cooked]
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon each of the following spices: ground cardamom, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, anise seed, sesame seeds and ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon each of the following spices: ground cinnamon, fennel seeds and ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon each of the following spices: ground turmeric, cumin and ground cayenne pepper
4 strands saffron
Chopped parsley for garnish
[1/4 teaspoon of ground fenugreek seeds can be added to the spices if desired or, instead of the spices listed above, you can use 2 - 3 teaspoons of your favorite high-quality curry powder.]
Combine all the ingredients except for the parsley in a 4 to 5 quart crockpot. Stir, cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender or - in small batches - in a blender prior to serving. Strain if desired to make an even smoother soup. Serve warm. Garnish each serving with chopped parsley if desired. Make approximately 4 meal-sized servings or 8 appetizer-sized servings depending on the amount of liquid evaporation during the cooking process. The final blended soup should look a little like cooked pumpkin pie filling. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Variations: 1 pound of pumpkin, butternut squash or acorn squash chunks can be used in place of the carrots. No other changes needed.
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