Cook Like: Benjamin Rients and Jason Sawicki of Lyn 65

As temperatures begin their inevitable annual slide toward zero, kitchens around the state turn toward producing stews and soups with depth and soul. This recipe, from chefs Benjamin Rients and Jason Sawicki of Lyn 65 in Richfield, shows off the versatility of soup. It’s warm and comforting in the winter but also shines as a cold soup during the heyday of summer.

Carrot-Coconut Soup

Serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 1 Thai chili
  • 1½ tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1½ tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 1 1½-inch stalk ginger, peeled
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed
  • ½ jalapeño (for a milder soup: seeded with ribs removed)
  • 10 cilantro stems (with leaves)
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 27 oz. coconut milk (two 13.5-oz. cans)
  • 1½ qt. chicken stock
  • fish sauce, lime, and sugar to taste
  1. Over medium heat, toast Thai chili, peppercorns, and coriander in a dry skillet until fragrant, about 2–4 minutes.
  2. Reconstitute spices in ½ c. warm water.
  3. In a blender, purée toasted spices with garlic, shallots, ginger, lemongrass, jalapeño, and cilantro to make a paste.
    OPTIONAL: Substitute 2 Tbsp. Mae Ploy red curry paste for homemade paste.
  4. Caramelize paste by sautéing in oil over medium heat for 5–7 minutes.
  5. Add carrots and sauté for 3 minutes.
  6. Add coconut milk and stock, bring to a boil, and cook until carrots are tender, seasoning with fish sauce to taste.
  7. Blend soup until smooth and strain through a fine sieve.
  8. Season to taste with more fish sauce, lime, and sugar.
  9. If desired, garnish with dollop of yogurt or sour cream and/or seafood such as poached lobster or sautéed shrimp.
  10. Serve hot or chill and serve cold.

NOTE: To make vegan, substitute water for stock and season with salt instead of fish sauce.

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