This is for all my friends living in colder climates. A little liquid sunshine just for you. A little spice to warm you up on those chilly nights. A little comfort food to let you know that you are going to be okay. And a little reminder that Spring is just around the corner.
Carrots are perfect for a pureed soup. They have just the right texture, sweetness, taste and the most beautiful color. Slow roasting the carrots brings out even more depth of flavor. I love this technique, one that I borrowed from the New York Times’ Mark Bittman.
Bittman has a knack for keeping things simple (minimalist, if you will), without sacrificing flavor or sophistication. His technique begins by pan roasting whole carrots on the stove top, then transferring the veggies to the oven. He throws in a few whole spice into the mix and I think you can get as creative as you like here. I took his lead and added some star anise and cardamom pods. Additionally, I threw in a sprinkling of mustard seeds and a knuckle of fresh ginger.
I roasted the whole carrots along with some onion for a good hour and then pureed them with some vegetable stock. The mixture was quite think and required more stock than I would have guessed. The result was a brilliantly colored, richly flavored and deeply satisfying soup. Stay warm my friends.
Slow Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup
8 large carrots, ends trimmed (peeled or unpeeled)
1 sweet onion, cut into large wedges
2in piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2 star anise pods (optional)
4 cardamom pods (optional)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
3-4 cups vegetable stock (I used Imagine Foods Low Sodium No Chicken Broth)
Preheat oven to 325F. Place olive oil and carrots on a rimmed baking sheet. Set over two burners on the stove top over medium high heat. Using tongs, rotate carrots every few minutes until brown on all sides, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Add onion and spices to the pan, except the ginger. Toss onion with a little more olive oil if needed. Season with sea salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven. Rotating carrots every 15 minutes or so. Add fresh ginger piece during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Roast about 1 hour or until tender. Remove whole spices. Cool slightly. Cut carrots into large chunks. Transfer carrots, onion and ginger to a high powered blender. Add 3 cups of vegetable stock and puree. Add more stock if mixture seems too thick. Adjust seasoning to your taste.