Zippity bippity do da dippity, it’s already time for The Secret Recipe Club again! You know what’s fun about this? Trying new recipes that are out of my comfort zone.
This month I was assigned the blog Gluten Free A-Z, by Judee. Not only is this a gluten-free blog, but it also has many vegetarian/vegan recipes.Throughout her posts, Judee gives advice and information regarding the foods we eat…or don’t eat, but might want to start think about eating.
Since it is getting to be soup weather where I live, I decided to browse Judee’s soup recipes. The word “Moroccan” caught my attention right away and I decided to make her Moroccan Spiced Carrot Soup. I really love trying out new spices and new spice combinations. So much about the food we eat is influenced by the herbs and spices that we use. We know that if we want to give something an Italian flavor, we are going to be using oregano and basil. For Mexican flavors, we are going to go with various chiles, cumin, and cilantro. But what about Moroccan food?
Judee’s recipe called for harissa, something with which I am not familiar. Like a good little food blogger, I did a bit of internet research to educate myself regarding harissa. I learned that it is a hot, chile-based sauce with cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, garlic, and sometimes mint. Then, of course, again being the good little food blogger that I am, I looked up recipes to make my own harissa.
In all honesty, I was very quickly deterred from making harissa mainly because of the large amount of HOT, HOT, HOT chiles involved. And the time. However, I could easily introduce the flavors of harissa into the soup without any trouble at all and could control the heat factor at the same time.
The soup turned out great, full of flavor and warmth. I departed a little bit from Judee’s recipe, but for the most part stayed true to it. Since I had no idea where to look for harissa in my local stores, I substituted it with paprika, cumin, ground coriander, red pepper flakes, caraway seeds, and fresh mint. To really bring out the flavors, I sauteed the spices with the vegetables. I also halved the recipe, which ended up being a perfect size for my husband and I, giving us each a nice hearty bowl of soup, plus a little left over for lunch. John loved the flavor of the soup and said that the flavor was spot-on for Moroccan flavors. I took him at his word, since I know practically nuttin’ about Moroccan flavors. What I do know, is that this soup was so, so good.