SZECHWAN CARROT SOUP

1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
a 3/4-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and sliced thin
1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 cup milk

Garnish: 1/4 cup sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons heavy cream

In a large heavy saucepan cook onion, celery, and garlic in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened. Add carrots, gingerroot, red pepper flakes, and broth and simmer, covered, until carrots are very tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and in a blender purée mixture in batches (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return soup to pan and heat over low heat until hot, being careful not to let boil.

Serve soup drizzled decoratively with sour cream mixture.

Makes 6 Cups.

Category: Soups
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