Saturday, March 14, 2015

Carrot and Ginger Soup


Note 1: When we first moved to Ann Arbor in 1990, the Ann Arbor News regularly printed this recipe in the weekly food section (oh! the glorious days of daily local newspapers), always attributing it to the Silver Palate Cookbook. Later I bought that cookbook. It does have a recipe for carrot soup, but it is different. I have never made it because the differences make me think this one is better.

Note 2: I've made this for vegans and to go with a meat meal for people who keep kosher. The substitutions for vegan/parve are in {italics}.

      1. Prepare
2 oz ginger root, peeled and chopped
     (A2News said 1/4 c. I prefer going by weight.)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
     (garlic cloves are so huge these days; 2 or even 1 giant
     one may be enough)
1 large onion (~9 oz.), cut in half and then sliced ~3/8"
Since everything gets pureed in the end, chopping affects cooking times but not ultimate quality.

      2. In Dutch oven or other large pot, melt
6T butter (A2News said unsalted but I always use salted)
     {canola oil}
     and saute for 15-20 minutes

      3. Meanwhile, get ready
1.5 lbs carrots (6-7 medium/large carrots)
     A2News said chop into 1/2" pieces. I slice the fat part of
     the carrot about 3/4" and the skinny part 1 1/4" and if
     any piece looks too big, I slice it vertically.)
1 c. dry white wine
7 c. chicken stock (=4 cans Swansons)
     {vegetable stock and/or kosher chicken-style
      dried soup mix and water, 1 tsp for 1 cup. Commercial
      veg broth is bitter, so I cut the edge by using some soup
      mix or adding a bit of kosher apricot jam at the end.
     My own chicken stock is less salty and has more celery
      flavor than Swanson, but I don't always have any on hand.

      4. When ginger mixture is ready, add
     and bring to boil. Then simmer uncovered ~45 minutes
     until carrots are fork-tender. When done, puree in blender.
I puree in batches of about 1 1/2 c. at a time, because blenders overheat and splash if they have too much liquid. I use a small coffee cup to move a mix of broth and vegetables to the blender. Once pureed, I put the pureed soup in a new pot. The soup is a gorgeous bright orange.

      5. Stir in
2 T lemon juice (~1 lemon)
1/8 tsp curry powder
     A2 News said "pinch" but I use more or less than a pinch
      (=1/8 tsp) depending on the freshness and heat of my curry
1/8 tsp white pepper
     I think the original called for black pepper but that
     messes with the color.
salt (I use none if I use commercial stock and salted butter)
1/8 tsp ground cardamom (A2News said optional, but I say
{Vegan/Parve: 1-2 T kosher apricot jam if broth is from commercial vegetable stock}

6. Serve immediately -OR- If you plan to serve the soup within a few hours, leave it with cover tilted on the counter or cold burner -OR- If made a day or more before, refrigerate covered. Reheat uncovered (because covering wrecks the color) over low-medium heat starting about 15-20 minutes before time to serve.

The Ann Arbor News said that you should top each bowl with chives or parsley. I almost never do. Neither flavor seems like it would enhance this soup. My cousin John thought a dab of cranberry sauce would be better as to both flavor and color. He is probably right but I've never done it. I serve my soup unadorned. I suppose you could slice some of the carrot into 1/8" circles and contain them in a bit of cheese cloth during cooking so that you don't puree them, then float them on the soup - if they'd float - for decoration.

A2News said "Serves 6." I get 3 qts = 12 1-c servings. But even when people know that there is a huge wonderful meal to follow, they ask for seconds. The soup is that good.
rjm - first typed 11/10/99; rev 11/18/01; 10/9/09; 1/3,10/30/11; 3/14/15 for web.