carrot ginger soup

Carrot ginger soup

24 April 2014

I came out of my quiet little blogging closet to drum up votes for the Saveur award (I was scared to have a vote count so dismal the Saveur editors would reconsider their nomination, so thanks very much to those of you who took action to my plea!), and now I find it funny that I now appear as a more Serious Cook to people who knew me for years in real life without knowing about the blog.

In fact, serious cookery is exactly what I’m not about. I’m a home cook with limited time, like millions of others. What I have an eye for here is high-payoff, low-effort, honest food that anyone can make. I also have a soft spot for heritage recipes, from grandmas (and grandpas) Chinese and otherwise, that endure through generations of kitchens.

Family cooking is not about fuss or show; it’s about sharing, togetherness, nourishment and love. That’s what I’m about too.

Of course, family cooking is not limited to family – it’s a style of cooking and eating that is casual, relaxed and welcoming, whether for loved ones or new guests.

This Easter we joined my friend Nancy’s family dinner, and it felt as comfortable as if it had been our own. Nancy and I have known each other since seventh grade, and our oldest kids will start school together next year, at the same age Nancy and I were when we met (a realization that both warms and crushes my heart).

Easter dinner wasn’t a very fair trade. I brought six people – my husband, four kids and mom – plus strawberries from the farmers market and roasted cauliflower. In return we all feasted on ham, roasted potatoes and baby artichokes, salad with asparagus, baked macaroni, deviled eggs and hot cross buns.

But after Easter sweets and vacation excess, what we loved most of all was the smooth, tingly, comforting carrot soup made by Nancy’s sister-in-law Anne. Creamy without cream, the bright orange soup was a fresh elixir of health and energy. We went home and made a pot of our own the next day.

Ingredients are few: carrots, onions, ginger, butter, chicken broth and a touch of orange juice. You could use vegetable broth for a vegetarian option, and swap olive or coconut oil for butter if you’re vegan.

A plus about blended soups is that you don’t need to be precise with chopping. Smaller diced carrot would cook faster, but even large pieces like this will cook in 20 minutes.

carrot ginger soup prep

The hardest part is grating the ginger. Scraping off the thin peel is easy with a spoon.

peeling ginger

Ginger can have some tough fibers, depending on the age and maturity of the root. A coarse grater works faster if your ginger isn’t too fibrous. A small grater will give you some ginger juice with your grated ginger. You can also cut slices of ginger crosswise and then chop finely.

In the end, the ginger will get blended with the soup, but grating/chopping helps get rid of the long stringy fibers that don’t blend well.

grating ginger

Soften onions in butter.

cooking onions and butter

Add ginger.

onions butter ginger

Carrots and broth.

carrots and broth

A bit of orange juice for brightness. Cover halfway and simmer.

orange juice in soup

Test a large piece of carrot with a fork for tenderness.

tender carrot soup

A handheld immersion blender is very convenient for soups. But you can also puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor.

blending soup

Taste the soup before seasoning with salt and pepper. Depending on your broth and the spiciness of your ginger, you probably won’t need much of either.

This bright, velvety soup makes a lovely presentation too. Now that I’m out with the blog, my guests may actually know how easy it is to make.

But yours won’t.

carrot ginger soup bowl

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Saveur Best Family Food Blog award: Dinner, A Love Story and editors’ pick, In Praise of Leftovers. Such a thrill to be a finalist in the great company of Dash and Bella, Pure Ella and Some the Wiser. I am in awe of all.

And don’t feel a bit bummed for me, the contest was great fun, and of course your readership is all the encouragement I could ever want. I am excited to attend Saveur’s awards dinner in May, which will be my first time in Las Vegas. I can’t wait to meet everyone.

Carrot Ginger Soup
Creamy without cream, this smooth, tingly, comforting soup is a fresh elixir of health and energy. Quick and easy to make, it looks impressive enough for company.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 pounds carrots, chopped (7-8 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated (approximately 1 2-ounce ginger root)
  • 6 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add grated ginger and cook another minute.
  2. Add carrots, stock and orange juice; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low, half-cover the pan with a lid and cook until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes (test with fork).
  3. Blend carrot mixture until smooth with handheld immersion blender. Alternatively, blend in batches in a food processor or blender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, thinning with water to desired consistency if necessary. If you like, garnish with chopped fresh herbs or a dollop of Greek yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche.

Notes

  • The only challenging part is grating the ginger. Use a spoon to scrape off the thin peel first. Some ginger grates better on a coarse grater, some does better on a small grater – it depends on the age/maturity of the ginger. You can also cut slices of ginger crosswise (against the grain), and then mince it with a knife. In the end, it will get blended with the soup, but grating/chopping helps get rid of the stringy fibers that don’t blend well.
  • Carrots can be scrubbed well and left unpeeled. Thick pieces (1-inch) are fine to cook in 20 minutes, though small pieces will cook more quickly if you are in a rush. If you cut the carrot in half lengthwise first, and then lay each half flat-side down as you cut, the pieces won’t roll off the cutting board.
  • Vegan option: use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and olive oil (or coconut oil) for butter.

Here’s the link to a printable version.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Brooke Rakow 24 April 2014 at 1:36 pm

“Family cooking is not about fuss or show; it’s about sharing, togetherness, nourishment and love. That’s what I’m about too.” —And that is why I love you, your blog, and your sweet family so much!

Reply

Don Fitch 29 April 2014 at 10:02 pm

I expect to do this (and to be delighted with it) on Friday or Saturday of this week. I’ve just finished harvesting the first batch of this year’s carrots, am starting on the second, and will probably be reasonably prompt in planting the third, maybe next week, and …ummm… it’s surprisingly easy to grow too many carrots for a single Old Geezer to use. (Not as easy as summer squash, including Zucchini, and if you have any help in that direction I’d appreciate it.)

Reply

cg 12 May 2014 at 9:37 am

hi don – hope it worked out for you! congrats on your carrot harvest – at least carrots store well. better than summer squash. =P carrot cake? or i also love alice waters’s carrot soup, for a non-gingery alternative. and it’s easy to eat a bunch of roasted carrots (slice, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, roast at 400 degrees). good luck, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Reply

Ananda Leeke 30 April 2014 at 9:30 am

Hi Lilian,

I love your carrot ginger recipe.

Sending you positive vibes for the Saveur award.

Love and Happy Cooking from Ananda in DC

Reply

cg 12 May 2014 at 9:38 am

miss you and your awesomeness, ananda! appreciate the good vibes. =) xoxo

Reply

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