Winter on the island has been exceptionally mild this year. March is usually still cold and drizzly, but we’ve been enjoying gloriously sunny days with higher temperatures. Growers are in transition, pulling out their winter crops, re-bedding with Spring produce. The CSAs haven’t started up yet, and local produce deliveries to our Food Coop are a bit sparse, but carrots are one thing we can always count on. Incredibly sweet and crunchy, they become a favorite snack but are also a homey meal when cooked in soup and paired with a salad of local greens.
This recipe was actually given to us by a resort chef while we were vacationing in Fiji, but it works well with our local product. You can easily substitute fresh ginger for the anise.
CARROT SOUP WITH STAR ANISE
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
6 thyme sprigs
5 whole star anise
2 bay leaves
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 lbs of carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces – if you want to save time use pre-peeled baby carrots.
4 cups homemade chicken broth
Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, thyme, 3 star anise, bay leaves, and garlic. Sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and broth. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove thyme, star anise, and bay leaves. Working in small batches, puree soup in food processor until smooth; return to same pot. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated.
To serve – garnish with sour cream and whole star anise with sprig of thyme.
Lodging and Dining Friday Harbor, WA San Juan Island
Harrison House Suites and Tucker House Inn