Friday, March 12, 2010

Carrot with Ginger Soup

I still have some carrots from this year’s (or, more accurately, last year’s) garden, and I thought a good use for them would be to make a carrot soup for the Valentine’s dinner. Since the theme this year was “pairings”, we came up with ginger-carrot soup. But at first I had trouble finding a recipe. There are quite a few out there, but they all seemed to have one of two problems. Either they included so many other ingredients that they were actually “ginger-carrot-and-fifteen-other-things soup” and thus didn’t really fit the theme, or they had just a few ingredients but the reviews indicated that they were “bland”, “boring”, etc. Finally I found a recipe that contained few other flavor components, and that got good reviews.

As a bonus, this recipe contains detailed instructions about pureeing the soup. Follow these and you should avoid the type of disaster OldRoses suffered last Thanksgiving.

The ingredients were pretty much as in the recipe, except that I used light cream instead of whipping cream; in a recipe like this, I doubt many people would notice the difference. I also sprang for real ginger, since I also needed it for the chicken dish (more on that here).

The recipe calls for 2 pounds of carrots. I wasn’t sure I had enough of my home-grown ones, so I bought a one-pound bag and used a pound of my own. Now, I should explain that the ones I grew are a purple variety. So when the carrots were simmered, the purple color leached out into the broth. When it was all pureed (without accident, I might add - I used a blender rather than a food processor), the whole thing took on a mauve color, which was perfect for Valentine’s Day. Oh, and the garnish in the picture is a particularly pretty carrot slice that I reserved for this purpose.

When I first tasted this soup, I was disappointed. The chicken broth flavor came out more strongly than I had expected, and I didn’t detect the ginger at all. But, by a day or two later, things had improved. The chicken broth flavor had receded and a lemony flavor from the ginger was present now. If you didn’t know there was ginger in it, you might think it was lemon instead, yet there’s the hint of a bite to it. I’m wondering whether the ginger level should be upped just a bit…

Verdict: Not bad...I might make this one again.

Ginger Carrot Soup

2 tablespoons sweet cream butter
2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 cups chicken broth
2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and white pepper
Sour cream
Parsley sprigs, for garnish

In a 6-quart pan, over medium high heat, add butter and onions and cook, stirring often, until onions are limp. Add broth, carrots, and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced.

Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Don't fill the blender more than half way, do it in batches if you have to. Cover the blender and then hold a kitchen towel over the top of the blender*. Be careful when blending hot liquids as the mixture can spurt out of the blender. Pulse the blender to start it and then puree until smooth. Return to the pan and add cream, stir over high heat until hot. For a smoother flavor bring soup to a boil, add salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with dollop sour cream and parsley sprigs.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Recycle: broth can, sour cream tub

Compost: veggie peelings/trimmings

1 comment:

Nate @ House of Annie said...

We use a stick blender to buzz our soups right in the pot. Safer and easier than transferring to a regular blender.

Since you're using homegrown carrots, share your dish in our Grow Your Own roundup this month! Full details at