Jumbo Carrot

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. --Julia Child

I had been pondering for days what to do with what seems to be one of the world's largest, ugliest carrots. It came in my latest organic box and I've had it on the kitchen counter for days... I have been dumbfounded as to how to prepare it in a way that makes the most of its...girth. It's about as long as half of my arm!

It seems disrespectful to just chop it up and put it in a salad, but it is too ugly to stay in the kitchen for much longer. I wasn't sure if I should post the photo of it, as its shape is very...um...odd. (It's a freak of nature!) I knew I had to do something soon though, as Chris kept eyeing it warily, and I think it was also starting to scare the cats.

I finally decided to roast it and make a lovely winter soup.  So, I peeled it, and cut it into more manageable pieces.  I stopped at one point to measure the width of a slice -- nearly 3 inches across!

I cored a couple Granny Smith apples, quartered an orange, thinly sliced some leeks, added the carrot chunks and tossed with some olive oil, coriander, fresh grated ginger, salt and pepper, then dotted with some unsalted butter and put in the oven at 375F degrees for about an hour, until the carrots were soft and the house smelled heavenly.

In the meantime, I cooked some more sliced leeks in butter until soft and a few peeled pieces of apple, then put them in the blender to pulverize them.  When the vegetables were roasted, I discarded the apple and orange peels (but scraped out and kept the soft fruit) and put half the amount of the carrots, etc. in the blender, added a few tablespoons of chicken broth and blended until smooth, pouring into a soup pot I had warming on the stove.  I did the same with the other half and added it to the pot as well.  In went 1/4 cup of light coconut milk, powdered ginger, a bit more salt, and a dash of nutmeg. I heated it through and then decided I wanted the consistency of the soup to match its elegant flavor, so I ran it through my lovely chinois until I had a lovely, light, broth-like soup.  (The carrot purée that was left in the chinois will make a lovely mash with some butter and brown sugar added.)

The soup has a really nice flavor  -- creamy and a bit smoky, with the ginger coming through without overpowering the carrot flavor.  And the color is gorgeous.

Peter Rabbit would definitely be jealous of this one.