I was looking for a festive orange-colored soup for Halloween, but not really in the mood for the pumpkin soup I usually make this time of year. I wanted to make something a little lighter and brighter.
Years ago I discovered cookbook author, Clifford A. Wright, when he wrote a fascinating book on the history of Mediterranean cuisine, which won the James Beard award for Cookbook of the Year. Since then I’ve discovered that not only is he an expert on Mediterranean cuisine, but he travels worldwide and writes about other cuisines as well. Traveling the world eating good food? I want this guy’s job.
According to Mr. Wright, carrot soup was probably created by the French. However their version, Puree Crecy, more than likely did not contain ginger. Whatever the origin of this particular soup, it’s a nice change from the standard carrot soup we made in (French) culinary school. The ginger adds a nice spiciness, without overpowering the soup.
Creamy Carrot Soup with Ginger
As with all pureed soups you can do the final blending any number of ways. This soup is best blended and strained until it is completely smooth. I recommend a high speed blender such as Vitamix or Blendtec. However, if you don’t have one, a regular blender or a stick blender will also work. You will just need to strain the soup after blending it to make it as smooth as possible
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1.5 pounds young carrots, sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger (about a 2-inch piece)
6 cups chicken broth
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
chopped fresh cilantro for garnishing
- Melt the butter in a pot over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium low, add the carrots and ginger and cook until softened, about 20 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup, in batches if necessary. Strain the soup if you want a smoother texture. Return the soup to the pan, add the milk and half and half and heat to serving temperature without letting it come to a boil. Check the seasoning. Garnish each bowl of soup with a sprinkling of the chopped cilantro.
Adapted from The Best Soups in the World by Clifford A. Wright