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Carrot Ginger Soup Recipe

This carrot ginger soup recipe celebrates an ingredient that too few of us keep in the kitchen. Ginger is one of the most under-used ingredients in western cooking. Even when it is used, it is most often seen in desserts, and not often enough in savory dishes. This is a shame, because ginger is one of those wonderful flavors that bridges the savory and sweet, which always makes for a tastier meal.

Also, ginger pairs well with so many other flavors: garlic, lemon, lime, honey, pork…even salt! With so many ways to play, it is hard to imagine why ginger has sat on the bench for so long!

Hopefully this recipe will mark the beginning of a Ginger Renaissance (okay, so I set my goals high!)

Anyway, if ginger is something you have not used much (and I mean fresh ginger, not the powdered stuff), then be sure to check out the tips below for easy ways to work with ginger!

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons of butter, or a few of splashes of olive oil (or half of each)
Small pinch of salt
1 pound carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, peeled and chopped (peeling gets rid of the “strings”)
1 teaspoon ginger, chopped or grated (what would a carrot ginger soup recipe be without it!)
5 cups chicken broth or stock; or use vegetable stock for vegetarian version.
Zest of half a lime
Juice of one lime

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat butter or oil in soup pot on medium low.

2. Add onions, carrots, celery and salt. Saute until onions and carrot are soft.

3. Add ginger. Cook for a minute or two more. (If ginger is chopped instead of grated, add it earlier).

4. Add broth, cook for 5 to ten minutes at a low boil.

5. Use blender, food processor or hand-held immersion blender to puree the soup.

6. Add lime zest and juice. Chill and serve.

Notes

This carrot ginger soup recipe is so refreshing that adding too much to it might actually detract from it. So anything you add should either compliment this refreshing aspect, or else contrast to it.

Any herbs you add should have a bright rather than a heavy, savory flavor. Cilantro is easily the best, with parsley a close second. I have thought of trying basil, but I am not sure how that would work out.

To contrast, you want to look for another flavor dimension, rather than looking for the opposite of refreshing (which is warming, heavy, savory comfort food). One such dimension would be sweet; another would be spicy.

For sweet accent to this carrot ginger soup recipe, you could try small slices of candied ginger, which would be especially good if they were frozen. Finely chopped red chilies make for a spicy edge, but I would not overdo it.

Lastly, you can experiment with the sour component by substituting other citrus for the lime. Lemon would be a good option, but I think orange would be too sweet. Grapefruit, on the other hand, has a nice balance between sour and sweet, and would probably work very well by itself or paired with another citrus.

Tips and Techniques

Even in my own soup recipe collection, ginger is pretty much limited to this carrot ginger soup recipe. Perhaps one of the reasons it is left alone is that it has the appearance of being difficult to work with. After all, it really is a very strangely shaped root, and no two are even remotely close to being the same. This makes it somewhat difficult to peel.

Also, it has a woody hardness to it that makes it a little difficult to chop up finely.

Lastly, it does not keep all that well. Once you cut a piece off, it will start to wilt and lose its flavor fairly quickly, rendering the large, unused portion useless.

Fortunately, I have a single solution to all three of those problems. Once you buy your fresh ginger, cut it into single pieces (cut each “branch” off), stick them in a sandwich bag, and toss it in the freezer.

When you are ready to use some ginger, pull out one piece, grab a teaspoon, and scrape the skin off with the edge of the spoon. This is much easier than using a knife or a peeler. When the skin is scraped off, use a box grater to get the exact amount of ginger that you want for your recipe.

By freezing the ginger, you prevent spoiling, make it easier to peel and grate, and end up with finer ginger than you would get by chopping.

How easy is that!

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