Warm and nuanced Ginger Carrot Soup offers year round comfort whether served hot, cold or at room temperature. It’s a perfect flavor twist to break up your Thanksgiving starch-fest. If sweet carrots are appearing at your local farmer’s market, use them to make this soup even more irresistible.
After years of tweaking proportions and ingredients, I’ve come up with four (!) different ways to amplify the carrotiness of this seductively smooth soup. Roasting brings out sweetness. Sautéing, then simmering 1″ pieces deepens flavor. Adding plenty of fresh juice is an obvious and winning trick. Yet, I think fresh and delicate Carrot Vegetable Broth is my favorite secret weapon for ensuring supreme carroty goodness. Chicken broth is too much of a distraction for carrot’s delicate flavor so this is a soup destined to be vegetarian. I have included the recipe for my quick *Carrot Vegetable Broth in this post. The method is straightforward. The broth ingredients are pureed in a food processor, simmer for just an hour so the flavors can stand up to more cooking, and are then strained to add the essence of ginger and carrot to the soup.
Two variations of ginger add both subtle heat and complexity. At this time of year I use the striking organic ginger available at my local farmer’s market. If you have the kind of unending appreciation for ginger that I do, feel free to add a shot of prepared ginger juice for even more depth and sparkle. My husband once asked me if ginger was loved the same as way as chocolate by all women….I had to explain it’s just one of my many food related quirks. My intrigue with ginger may have something to do with my father’s consistently replenished stash of candied ginger back when you could only find it at a real candy store. The flavor piqued my interest then and still draws me in decades later.
Sake is a natural partner for the ginger and carrot flavor. If you do not have sake, a white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, will give a slightly different but similar taste boost.
There are many ingredients in this soup, but each one adds a different and essential dimension. You can simplify a bit by replacing leeks, onion, and shallots with just onions, replacing candied ginger with fresh (or vice versa) or even using prepared ginger juice or minced ginger, and/or using prepared high quality low sodium vegetable broth. The results will not be as subtle, but still taste terrific.
Vegetarian Ginger Carrot Soup
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs peeled carrots, cut into 1” pieces
1 cup thinly sliced leek, white part only
1 yellow onion, small dice (for extra sweetness add a Georgia Vidalia or other “sweet” onion)
2 shallots, small dice
1 small Russet potato, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ tsp white pepper (or black if you do not have white)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs fresh ginger, minced (in a pinch you can use ginger juice)
1 Tbs candied ginger, minced
1 Tbs maple syrup or honey
8 cups carrot-vegetable broth (homemade broth preferred)
2 cup fresh carrot juice
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup sake
Optional Garnish: 1 Tbs minced candied ginger or pomegranate arils or chopped chives, chervil or cilantro
- Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Rub 1 lb of the carrots with 1 Tbs olive oil. Lightly oil sheet pan and roast carrots until softened and slightly browned; about 30 minutes, stirring carrots after 15 minutes. Set carrots aside.
- In a heavy 4 quart saucepan heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, leeks, onion, shallots, potato, celery, salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and the bottom of the pan is a bit caramelized, about 30 minutes.
- Add garlic and gingers. Cook just a minute to bring out the flavor, making sure garlic doesn’t brown.
- Add roasted carrots, maple syrup, carrot-vegetable broth, carrot juice, orange juice and sake. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Remove soup from heat and let cool to room temperature
- In batches, puree soup until smooth and silky. A blender or Vitamix makes the smoothest texture. I like this soup thick and creamy, but you can add more water as needed to your favorite consistency.
- Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Freeze single servings so you can have an enticing and comforting soup hug whenever you need one.
*Quick Carrot Vegetable Broth
1 pound peeled carrots, chopped
2 cups sliced leek green sections (save white section for carrot soup)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped fennel fronds (from top of bulb)
2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
7” strip of orange zest
2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
½ oz candied ginger, diced
1” piece fresh ginger diced
1 tsp coriander seeds, slightly crushed
1 bay leaf
1 sprig parsley
1 sprig thyme
- In food processor briefly puree carrots, leek greens, onion, fennel fronds, celery, orange zest, garlic, and gingers. If you don’t have a processor, chop all ingredients into small pieces. Transfer mixture to a 4 quart or larger saucepan.
- Add coriander seeds, bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and 10 cups water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour, replacing water if needed to keep water level the same.
- Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer; pressing the solids to extract as much flavor as possible. Throw the solids away and measure out 8 cups for soup.