March 26, 2012

Carrot Ginger Soup

Lately I've been trying to get more vegetables into my son's meals.

It’s not what you think. He doesn't dislike vegetables. He doesn't refuse to eat them.

He’s a skinny kid and a slow eater. So I usually encourage him to eat the most calorie-dense things on his plate. Unfortunately, that means the veggies often go by the wayside.

But then I came up with an idea that’s been working great. At the beginning of the week I make a big batch of a pureed vegetable soup. My son gets his with a big splash of heavy cream (he needs the calories); my husband and I eat it as is (we most definitely do not need the extra calories!).

To keep my son interested, I’ve been letting him choose what kind of soup he wants to eat. This week he chose carrot. I grimaced a little on the inside because I’m not a huge fan of cooked carrots. But if he wanted carrot soup, that’s what he was going to get.

I decided on a recipe for carrot-ginger soup. I figured that we like the carrot-ginger dressing at our favorite sushi place, so the flavor combo would probably work in a soup. And boy does it ever!

Carrots and ginger complement each other beautifully. Cooking enhances the sweetness of the carrots and mellows the sharpness of the ginger. The result is a naturally sweet and subtly spicy full-flavored soup.

Once you puree it, the soup is thick and rich, totally luxurious even before you add a drop of cream. And the color is so vibrant, it looks like good health in a bowl. And that, after all, is the point.

This recipe requires some chopping. It's easiest if you do it all up front, and have everything ready to toss into the pot. So to start, chop up the onion, ginger, garlic, carrots and tomatoes.

Heat the olive oil and butter in the pot until the butter melts. Then toss in the onion and sauté until the onion is translucent, but not browned. 

Then add the ginger and garlic and stir for a few minutes until everything is fragrant and no longer smells "raw."

Add the carrots and tomatoes.

Then add the broth and bring it to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, until all of the veggies are tender.

Puree the soup. I did this with an immersion blender. But you could use a regular blender or food processor. If you want a little more texture, use a food mill.

The soup is delicious as is, but you can stir in some heavy cream to make it richer.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit

1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 Tbsp finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/4 lb medium carrots, peeled, chopped (about 3 cups)
2 tomatoes, seeded, chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)
4 cups chicken broth (or use vegetable broth to keep the soup vegetarian)
Heavy cream (optional)

1.    Melt butter and olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 6 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 2 minutes.

2.    Add chopped carrots and tomatoes; sauté 1 minute. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly.

3.    Puree soup in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender. If necessary, return soup to pot. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

4.    Bring soup to a simmer. Add heavy cream, if desired. Ladle into bowls. Enjoy!

Serves 4

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