Bella’s Carrot, Orange, and Fennel Soup

MAKES 6 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 30 minutes • COOK TIME: 35 minutes

Here’s where a cook learns to ad lib. For years, I’ve made carrot ginger soup for my cancer patients when their tummies are a little off. One day, I came home to find my husband, Gregg, in a similar state; he felt a little foo in the belly, but nonetheless hungry. I went to the pantry to whip up some soup, only to find there was no ginger to be had. But there was fennel. “Fennel is good for the stomach,” thought I, and into the pot it went. Gregg soon sat down, took one taste, and started raving. A few weeks and tweaks later, I found that adding cumin, cinnamon, and allspice really brought this soup home. I named this recipe after my dog, Bella, because she’s quite possibly the only dog on the planet who prefers carrots to bacon; for every four carrots that went into making this soup, one went into Bella’s mouth. Otherwise she howled. (Sigh.)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped fennel
Sea salt
3 pounds carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of red pepper flakes
8 cups Magic Mineral Broth
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup
Cashew Cream, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion, fennel, and a pinch of salt and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the carrots, orange zest, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and sauté until well combined. Pour in 1⁄2 cup of the broth and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.

Add the remaining 7 1/2 cups broth and another 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.

In a blender, puree the soup in batches until very smooth, each time adding the cooking liquid first and then the carrot mixture. If need be, add additional liquid to reach the desired thickness.

Return the soup to the pot over low heat, stir in the orange juice, lemon juice, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt, and gently reheat slowly. Taste. Does it need a squeeze of lemon, a pinch or two of salt, or a drizzle of maple syrup?

Serve garnished with a drizzle of the Cashew Cream.

Cook's Notes: Put liquid ingredients in the blender first, and then add the solids to blend more efficiently. The pressure builds up when blending hot liquids and can blow the lid right off the blender chamber, so always place a dishtowel over the blender lid before you hit the power button to prevent spin art on your kitchen wall (and possibly burns).

Reprinted with permission from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery. Copyright © 2009, 2017 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.