Szechwan Carrot Soup

  • 1 med. onion or leek
  • 1/3 cup chopped celeriac
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ¾ inch piece fresh ginger; peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/8 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 ½ Tbs. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 cup milk

Chop onion and celeriac and mince garlic.  Cook in vegetable oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened.  Add carrots, ginger, pepper flakes and broth.  Simmer covered until carrots are very tender; about 45 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients and in a blender puree mixture in batches.  Return soup to pan and heat over low heat until hot, being careful not to let boil.  If desired, prepare garnish by mixing ¼ cup sour cream with 2 Tbs. heavy cream and drizzle decoratively into soup after serving into bowls.

Adapted from Gourmet.