Thursday, January 9, 2014

Spiced Carrot Soup

I love love love soups, particularly in winter.  Paired with a big salad full of veggies, nuts, and tasty greens (spinach and arugula are my faves), it makes a warming, filling, and healthy meal.

If you've read this blog a few times you know that I always have a lot of pantry foods on hand, making soup-making a cinch whenever I have a few veggies kicking around.  This time I had carrots and celery on hand, and the rest was in my pantry and freezer (I keep sliced ginger in the freezer for soups and smoothies--so useful!).  I added a bit of this and a bit of that, and it became a darn good soup, if I do say so myself.  In addition to being a very healthy food, fresh ginger can actually be a bit spicy.  I used about 1½ tablespoons of roughly minced ginger, and there was some heat to this soup.  Use less if you prefer less kick, more for more.  While I didn't measure the stock, I think I used about 3 cups, which made a fairly thick soup, perfect when it's an entree.  More stock will make more (thinner) soup, better as a starter course.  

Spiced Carrot Soup
Makes 2 generous dinner portions, or 3-4 appetizer portions

1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, diced
1 or 2 stalks of celery, diced (same size as onions)
1-2 Tablespoons roughly chopped ginger root (peeling optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 pound of carrots, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
1 golden delicious apple, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
3-4 cups of vegetable stock (use less for a thicker soup, more for a thinner soup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Plain yogurt or crème fraîche (optional)

1. Heat the olive oil in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the olive oil, then when the oil is hot, add the diced onion and celery.  Saute until the onion is softened and translucent, but not browned, about 8 minutes. 

2. Add the ginger, and saute for an additional minute or two.  Add the spices and cook until they're fragrant, 1 minute more.

3. Pop the carrot and apple pieces in the pot, and then the stock.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot.  Simmer the soup until the carrots are soft, about 15 minutes.  

4. Take the soup off the heat and blend, ideally with an immersion blender right in the pot.  If you don't have an immersion blender, transfer the soup, in small portions, to a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth.  Add additional stock to achieve desired consistency, if necessary.

5. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.  Serve hot, with plain yogurt or crème fraîche swirled in, if desired.  


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