Jamaican Carrot Soup with Pear Relish and Plantain Chips

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors(yellow, orange,green, red,chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 pounds carrots, thickly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 Scotch bonnet chile, seeded and thinly sliced
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. chopped thyme
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
6 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 small red potato, peeled and thickly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Pear Relish:

4 firm, ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2
4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Plantain chips:

1 large ripe plantain
vegetable oil, for frying


To prepare the soup:

Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan and add the carrots and onion. Season with salt and pepper, and cook them over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and golden, about 30 minutes. Add the scallions, Scotch bonnet, soy sauce, thyme, ginger, cumin, allspice and nutmeg and stir until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, potato and bay leaf and bring the pot to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat and let it stand for about 10 minutes, then remove the bay leaf and puree the soup in batches using a blender. Return the soup to the saucepan and season it with the lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Tp prepare the pear relish:

In a medium bowl, toss the pears with the lemon juice, then fold in the parsley, allspice and nutmeg. Chill the relish for at least 1 hour before using

To prepare the plantain chps:

Peel the plantain and thinly slice it on the diagonal. In a large skillet, heat 1/4″ of oil until shimmering. Add half of the plantain slices and fry them over moderate heat until they turn golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Drain the plantain chips on paper towels while you fry the rest, then season with salt just before serving.

To serve:

Reheat the soup, and ladle it into shallow bowls. Garnish the soup bowls with the cold pear relish and serve with the plantain chips.

Recipe by Marcia Kiesel, Food & Wine Magazine, November 2000.