Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup
I’ve never really been a fan of carrot soup. Something about its resemblance to baby food, not only visually but in taste, has always made me eschew this soup as boring at best. Why would I want to eat the equivalent of mashed carrots when there are so many more dynamic, interesting soups out there? Well, that was before I happened upon this little happy accident. Shockingly, despite its minimalist ingredient list, this soup doesn’t really taste like carrots. Or at least not like raw carrots, or the mushy steamed carrots served on so many holiday tables and buffet lines, or baby food. This soup tastes like grown up, sweet, rich, decadent carrots. Yes, I just said decadent carrots.
So what transforms this soup from blah to highlight of my day? Well folks, it’s all in the roasting. And we’ve certainly been on a roasting kick lately, it being our prefered method of preparing most winter vegetables. So when I was recently roasting a bunch of carrots for an easy seasonal side to accompany the skillet pot pie we were serving, I decided to throw the extras into a soup. And well, out came this little wonder. Since it’s mainly just pureed carrots, onions and broth this isn’t a whole-meal-in-a-bowl-soup. It’s more like the tomato soup of winter – best eaten with a grilled panini or a substantial salad or as the light starter for a hearty meal. Best of all, it’s a snap to make – especially if you’re already in the kitchen preparing something else, this soup seems to come together mostly all by itself.
Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup
3 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into match sticks
2 onions, peeled, halved and cut into 1/2″ strips
2 Tbs. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2 (optional)
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and evenly coat two rimmed baking sheets with a tablespoon of olive oil and a few teaspoons of water each. Toss your carrots and onions in the oil/water and then cover the baking sheets tightly with tin foil. Roast covered for 15 minutes, then remove the foil, stir the carrots and onions and return to the oven for an additional 30-45 minutes, stirring a few times during roasting, until all liquid is evaporated and the carrots and onions are well browned on all sides.
Once the carrots and onions have finished roasting, heat a teaspoon of oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add your carrots, onions, ginger, and red pepper flakes and cook 1-2 minutes. Add your bay leaf and wine and cook for 30 seconds to a minute, until the wine has reduced by about half. Add your stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and allow to simmer 10 minutes. Finally, blend the soup until very smooth, then return to the pot, season with salt and pepper and keep warm until serving. If using half and half, add it at this time and allow the soup to become hot again prior to serving.