Carrot and Cilantro Soup

Say yes to carrots! This simple soup is bursting with flavor and is equally good served hot or cold. Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene and other carotenoids, which help protect against cancers and cataracts, and boost the immune system. Cilantro contains high levels of anticancer antioxidants, helps lower blood pressure and aids digestion. If you want this to be a vegetarian soup switch out the chicken stock for vegetable and for vegans omit the crème fraiche and substitute hi-oleic safflower oil for butter.

Makes 8 servings

2Tbs                unsalted butter (substitute high-oleic safflower oil for vegan)

2Tbs                extra virgin olive oil (or in my case my own high-oleic safflower oil)

1                      large onion, diced

2 pounds        carrots, peeled and diced

2 ribs               celery, chopped

8 cups             chicken stock (or vegetable)

½ cup             chopped cilantro (including stalks)

1tsp                  salt

½tsp                fresh ground pepper

¼tsp                cayenne pepper (to taste and for more heat use ½tsp)

crème fraîche (or sour cream) for garnish (omit for vegan)

cilantro leaves for garnish

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In large soup pot melt the butter and heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over a low heat until wilted, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, stock, cilantro, salt, black pepper and cayenne. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then puree the soup in batches. If serving chilled, put into the fridge—over night would be preferable. If serving hot, return to the soup pot and heat through. Perfect served with crème fraîche and fresh cilantro leaves.