A Caribbean Classic

The perfect recipe for carrot soup

While SPAM and jello salad with hardboiled eggs may be relics of the past, some food trends have stood the test of time: great barbeque, heirloom tomatoes, and home canning and preservation, for example. Lisa Jacobson of Mermaid Café creates another enduring trend—Caribbean carrot soup. This menu staple at her cozy café on Madison’s east side features sweet, local carrots that were cellared over the winter. She roasts them until they are caramelized, mixes in warm spices, stock and coconut milk and purees the soup until it becomes deliciously smooth and fragrant. Top with cilantro if desired and you have a splash of brilliant color and flavor that will take you easily from winter into spring.

RECIPE: Caribbean Carrot Soup 


5 pounds large carrots
2 tbsp plus 3 tbsp canola or sunflower oil (Driftless Organics)*
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp curry powder
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup plus 2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
1.5 cans coconut milk
Salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste
Chopped cilantro (for garnish)


Peel and chop carrots into large pieces. Coat in about 2 tbsp oil and 1/4 cup stock. Place on parchment and roast at 400 degrees for about 45–60 minutes until carrots are fork-tender.

While carrots are in the oven, chop onion and garlic and grate ginger. In the bottom of a large enameled pot, add 3 tbsp oil and saute garlic, onion and ginger until onions are translucent. Add curry powder and bay leaf and sauté about 1 minute. Add roasted carrots and 1 quart broth and let come to a simmer. Pour in remaining stock and bring to a simmer again. Add coconut milk and remove bay leaf.

Use immersion blender to puree soup, adding stock to thin to desired consistency. Add salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Serve hot with chopped cilantro.

*The only locally grown and produced oil.

Otehlia Cassidy is a Madison writer and cook with a passion for local foods and culinary adventures. Check out her blog, Local Flavor, and find more recipes here.

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