Friday, May 13, 2011

Carrot Ginger Soup in Summer

Some people refuse to eat soup in the summer. In the sickly humid summer months in DC, you might hear "I'm so sweeeaaaaaaty. If I have to eat something warm I'm gonna diiiiiiieeeee." Or maybe they limit their intake to gazpacho (because we're also pretentious here in DC). I've always felt like eating gazpacho is like slurping up pureed salsa or melty Italian ice - it's just not my thing. But when it comes to warm vegetable soup, steam and all, I'm up for it all 365. Soup is tasty, healthy and filling. And I refuse to avoid it just because Mother Nature is being a jerkface with her humidity levels. Besides, all of the offices and restaurants downtown keep their thermostat at negative 15 degrees to counter the summer heat. I need soup to regulate my core temperature.

When my local lunch haunt, Devon & Blakely, stopped serving my favorite carrot ginger soup in March, I may or may not have gone through the five stages of grief (lingering on denial and expecting the soup to reappear every day for the next month). It was smooth and gingery and satiated my lunchtime hunger without weighing me down (unlike the 3-bean chili and lentil soup, oy). The good news is that I've finally reached acceptance . . . and a solution. I've perfected my own version of carrot ginger soup. The base ingredients for carrot ginger soup floating around the internet are basically all the same, so I just tinkered with the ratios until I reached that perfect level of gingery sweetness that Devon & Blakely had mastered. Now I don't feel so bitter when I walk in there.
I like a really gingery soup, so consider halving the ginger if you want a milder ginger flavor. Also, as I mentioned with the sweet onion & broccoli soup, if you're using a standard blender, don't try to double this recipe. It's too much for the blender to handle (unless you want to blend in sections - though I still caution against it because it's difficult to manage pouring with such a large pot). If you're using an immersion blender, feel free to make as much soup as your pot will hold. My birthday just happens to be tomorrow and I'm hoping that the immersion blender of my dreams finds its way into my kitchen!

Carrot Ginger Soup

Serves 4

2 tbs. olive oil 
1 small/medium onion, diced
2.5 cups vegetable broth
1.5 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced (roughly 10 large carrots or 1.5 bags baby carrots)
4 tsp. freshly grated ginger
2/3 cups whole milk or cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until onions are tender, stirring often. Add broth, carrots and ginger. Turn heat up to medium-high and bring liquid to a boil. Return heat to low and let the soup simmer for 25-30 minutes or until you can break the carrot pieces with a spoon.

Remove pot from the stove and pour the contents into your blender (or just proceed with blending if using an immersion blender).* Let stand for 5 minutes. With the lid on the blender, blend the mixture until pureed, pausing occasionally to let steam out of the top of the blender. Pour soup back into the pot and place over medium heat. Stir in milk/cream, salt and pepper and let cook for another 10 minutes.

This soup freezes well and is good in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Garnish with a slice of toasty sourdough bread, brushed lightly with olive oil. Serve in an air conditioned room.

*If you're feeling fancy, prior to blending, remove 1 or 2 spoonfuls of carrots using a large, slotted spoon. Add carrots back to the soup along with the milk and spices. This gives the soup some added texture and a really professional touch.


  1. Dude,the way most office buildings crank up the A/C in the summer, I always want soup at lunch.

  2. I'm not even lying when I say mike is making this RIGHT NOW. We LOVE this soup! We use coconut milk and a splash of OJ, and a dash of chili pepper for kick.

    PS I heart my immersion blender

    PPS HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Moose will wear a birthday hate for you.

  3. I think the ginger is a really great spice for the summer. And happy early birthday! Fingers crossed for an immersion blender -- they are amazing!

  4. Sophie & Liz, thx for the birthday wishes! Liz, I expect a photo text of Moose in hat, preferably doing some sort of birthday jig.

    Victoria, tell me about it! Sometimes I feel like my summer clothes have to be warmer than my winter clothes so that I don't get hypothermia in the office.


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