Friday, February 13, 2009

Gingered Carrot Soup

I hate to do this to you, just before Valentines Day. But, this recipe gets slotted under 'disasters', as it didn't turn out for me. But hey, they can't all be winners, right?! Otherwise, I might have my own cooking show or cookbook. And besides, for your Valentines menu, I just posted some super stellar recipes... the pesto scallops and coconut shrimp.

I found this recipe a couple months ago, as I was searching for easy make ahead recipes or fast go-to recipes for after the baby's arrival. Grace recommended a recipe site called Mollie Katzen and I probably spent about 2 hours drooling over the recipes (thanks for the great tip, Grace!). I am amazed at myself, having spent so much time on the website. Most recipes don't have pictures, which is usually a must for me. But just the food combinations captured me!

For example... carrot and ginger. Oooh, sounds like such a winner for cold weather. Doesn't it? Healthy and warming, can't ask for much better. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out quite as good as I'd hoped, but that may have partly been due to my spice substitutions. I did not have fennel, allspice or dried mint. I used 1/4 teaspoon chili powder instead. Smelled wonderful, but the end flavor wasn't there.

It wont keep me from trying some of her other recipes though. I have a long list to experiment with.

Our feedback: Tasted like you are eating a carrot, and fairly bland. I'm not sure why I found this surprising, but carrots have a strong flavor. Therefore, you need equally strong spices or other ingredients to temper it, or they get lost in the carrot. Again, our outcome can't truly represent the recipe, as I omitted some significant ingredients.

What I did: The original recipe called for only 1/4 teaspoon of each spice, and it's not nearly enough. I bumped it up to 1 full teaspoon. The ginger only gave a slight hint of flavor, and the cashews were lost in the soup, but they do add some protein (I would still keep them). I added milk, as the texture also needed more creaminess. You could also try adding a cooked potato for some creamy texture and to thin out the carrot a bit. I ate the soup with a large dollop of sour cream, which I liked.

I think Mollie's original recipe could be great as a sauce or side to another dish. She recommends this recipe with her Samosas, which I can see being very tasty. As a soup though, I'd pass.

Gingered Carrot Soup
adapted from Mollie Katzen

2 pounds carrots
4 cups water
1 tablespoon butter or oil
1 1/2 cup chopped onion
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon dried mint
3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup lightly toasted cashews
1/4-1/2 cup milk or heavy cream

Peel and trim carrots, then cut into 1 inch pieces. Place in a medium-large saucepan with water, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until carrots are very tender (approximately 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the carrot pieces).

Meanwhile, heat the butter/oil in a small pan. Add onions and saute over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt and spices. Turn heat to low, and continue to saute for another 8-10 minutes, or until everything is well mingled and the onions are very soft. Stir in the lemon juice.

Use a food processor or blender to puree everything together (including the toasted cashews). You may need to do this in several batches.

Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with sour cream if desired. Serve with whole wheat crusty bread, or grilled cheese sandwiches. Serves 4.

Other carrot soup recipes I'd like to try:
- Laura's Carrot Soup, from Kitchen Parade (think I will try this one next time)
- Roasted Tomato and Carrot Soup with Ginger, from Daily Unadventures in Cooking
- Indian Spiced Carrot Soup with Ginger, from Epicurious
- Carrot Soup with Dill Pesto, from Epicurious

Guten appetit!

1 comment:

Javi said...

Hi there! I've made this recipe a couple of times, and thought it was very tasty. I'd definitely recommend trying it again using the special spices. Also, I noticed a few typos in the version you included in your post -- Mollie Katzen's original recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon each (not 1 teaspoon each) cumin, ground fennel, cinnamon, all spice, and dried mint. Good luck!