If you've never tried Chinese Five Spice, spring is a great time to experiment. The blend of anise, cinnamon, star anise, clover and ginger is the perfect pair for roasted carrots and other root veggies or potatoes.
These carrots make a nice side dish for chicken, ham or grilled steak.
Alas, my boys are not big fans of roasted vegetables, so we usually have leftovers – which I look forward to. This way I get to make soup. I always have some chicken stock on hand, so making soup is a quick way to get lunch or dinner on the table.
The simple formula of vegetable + stock + spices works like a charm with many different vegetables (butternut squash, acorn squash, potatoes, carrots) or veggie combos (sweet potato and carrot.) Be sure to have fun with the spices. Nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice is nice with squash; a little curry or cumin or ginger goes well with carrots. Give it a try and let us know what you come up with.
Roasted Carrot & Chinese Five Spice Soup
1 pound carrots (baby or whole) peeled and cut into 1-inch or 2-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 of a large onion, cut into chunks
1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice, divided
Salt and pepper
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread all vegetables on cookie sheet. Drizzle with the oil. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice, salt and pepper. Toss to coat vegetables in oil and spices.
Roast for 40 to 50 minutes, tossing every 20 minutes or so. Cook until the carrots are soft all the way through when pierced with a fork.
Remove from oven and let cool.
If you have an immersion blender, place the vegetables in a large pot. Add 1 1/3 cups of stock. You can also use a regular blender, but you may need to blend the vegetables and stock in batches. Blend until smooth.
Taste soup mixture. Add additional Chinese Five Spice, salt and pepper as you like. If soup is too thick, blend in more stock, adding 1/3 cup at a time.
Once you obtain the consistency and seasoning that you prefer, heat the soup in a pot on the stovetop, or in a microwave-safe bowl.
Enjoy as is or with a side of toasted pita or other bread.