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I kinda have a carrot soup obsession.  It started one weekend last fall in Banff when we stopped in the Wildflour Bakery for lunch.  In addition to the fantastic brownies and whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, I had the yummiest bowl of carrot soup.  Since then I have been making carrot ginger soup at home on a weekly basis with little variation.  Today I was craving carrot soup once again, but I really wanted to find a way to put a new twist on my old favorite.  Matt had just bought a batch of habaneros to make some ultra spicy salsa with, so when I spotted them in the fridge I thought why not?  The bright orange flesh of the Habanero seemed to be a perfect match for my carrots.  I used one habanero which made a really spicy soup, so if you don’t love spice you may want to cut it in half, and most importantly, when chopping your habanero, wear gloves!

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ large white onion, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh ginger (about a 2 inch chunk), peeled and coarsely chopped

1 pound carrots (about 7 medium-sized), peeled and sliced into ½ inch pieces

1 habanero, seeded and finely chopped

¼ cup white wine

4 cups vegetable stock

1 large orange, juiced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sour cream

Cilantro sprigs (for garnish)

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil.  Add the onion, ginger and habanero, stirring frequently for about 8 minutes or until the onion are translucent.  Add the wine to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Add the carrots, stock and orange juice to the pot. Increase the heat  to medium high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and let simmer for 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.  Transfer the soup to a blender and puree.  The soup is now ready to serve.  Pour in bowls and garnish with sour cream and cilantro. BUENO!

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