The recipe

Peel and roughly chop 500g of carrots, then cook in boiling vegetable stock for about 20 minutes until very tender. Drain the carrots then purée them in a blender or food processor with 50g of butter and enough of the stock to make a thick soup.

Peel and finely chop 2 medium-sized shallots, 3 cloves of garlic and then finely chop 1 large, mild red chilli. Warm 40g of butter and 2 tbsp of in a large, shallow pan to which you have a lid, then add the chopped shallots, garlic and chilli and fry until the shallots are soft and golden.

Turn up the heat, add 700g of clams and cover tightly with a lid. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until the clams have opened. Pour the carrot purée into warm soup bowls then spoon the clams and aromatics over with a little of the liquor from the pan.
Enough for 2

The trick

Cook the carrots for slightly longer than you would for those you would serve as a vegetable. They are ready when they can easily be crushed between thumb and finger. The quality of the stock is important. If you use powdered bouillon it is worth adding a couple of bay leaves, a small onion and some sprigs of thyme.

The twist

You can cook mussels in a similar fashion, the sweetness of the seafood and the carrots work neatly with one another. I like to include a piece of garlic bread with this soup. Fry finely crushed garlic in butter until soft and slightly caramelised, then brush on a piece of thick toast and serve with the soup.

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