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TSP Original: Fresh Ginger and Carrot Soup

MUSIC PAIRING: Sarah McLachlan, Surfacing 

I really love soup. I love it cold, hot, from a mug, in a thermos… I particularly love it when it’s inside a dumpling. Thank you for introducing your French onion soup dumplings to me years ago, Stanton Social. I have forever been a changed woman.

My issue with soup is that so often, the really delicious recipes are full of cream, butter, cheese or any combo of heavy ingredients. You’ll begin your meal with what sounds like a light, healthful cauliflower soup yet really, you’re ingesting four million calories before you’ve even had a sip of your wine. That’s a bummer. I know none of us want to believe this but butter is the magic behind almost every restaurant dish out there. We fool ourselves into thinking those roasted veggies taste so great because the restaurant got really great produce but honestly? It’s most likely brown butter you’re tasting. Obviously, this isn’t the case all the time but it’s pretty likely that the soup you’ll eat while dining out isn’t healthy.

I had been feeling a bit rundown this past week so I was really craving a big bowl of something warm and nutritious. Since I basically survive on quinoa and vegetables regularly, I couldn’t stomach another bowl of that so I got the itch for soup. When I feel a cold coming on, I like to incorporate lots of ginger and garlic in the things I eat because I believe they really help. I’m definitely one who avoids the doctor unless absolutely necessary so I have my own little methods I implement which work for me.

Carrot and ginger are such a great pairing. If the world wouldn’t think I was a lunatic, I’d drink the carrot ginger salad dressing from sushi joints like water. Come on now, don’t even pretend you haven’t thought of that, too. For this soup, I wanted to do something simple that packed a punch to hopefully help clear out my sinuses. Between the garam masala and red pepper flakes, I achieved my mission.

While many recipes can be amended and turn out great, just note that you don’t want to leave out the garam masala here. It’s what really makes the soup.

Why Sarah McLachlan? Like I said, I wasn’t feeling 100% and I needed something soothing while I took turns stirring my soup and laying on the couch. We can all agree that if she isn’t making you cry, she’s soothing your soul.

PS – Sorry for the lack of photos. That part of my brain was off duty today.     

Fresh Ginger and Carrot Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 large yellow onion, diced
  3. 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  4. 3/4 teaspoons ground coriander
  5. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 1/8 teaspoon garam masala*
  7. Pinch of red pepper flakes
  8. 5 cups carrots (I used two regular bags which yielded this result), peeled and diced
  9. Splash of brandy or cognac
  10. 3 - 4 cups vegetable broth depending on whether you like it more or less brothy
  11. 1 cup light coconut milk, canned and unsweetened
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add olive oil.
  2. Add onions and cook until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add ginger and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add coriander, cinnamon, garam masala, red pepper flakes and carrots. Stir well to incorporate and turn the heat to high. Add the splash of brandy and cook on high for about 2 minutes until the alcohol burns off. Season with salt and pepper and turn heat back down to medium.
  4. Add the vegetable broth. Cover and simmer until the carrots are fully softened, about 30 minutes.
  5. Once the carrots are soft, remove pot from the heat and blend the soup either in batches in a regular blender or right in the pot with an immersion blender. (If using a regular blender, be careful not to fill it too full because hot steam from the soup can create too much pressure in the blender and make the lid pop off.) Taste and season more as needed.
  6. Once blended, return soup to pot (if you used a blender, that is) and stir in coconut milk.
  7. Serve hot.
  8. This soup keeps well for up to five days and will freeze beautifully for up to three months if well contained.
Notes
  1. *Garam masala is a ground spice mixture of Indian origin that you’ll find in most Indian dishes. It’s most commonly comprised of different peppercorns, cardamom, nutmeg , cloves and mace. It’s beautifully aromatic and quite strong in flavor. Depending on the blend you use, it can provide a big punch of heat from the peppercorns so if you’ve never had it before and are unsure of the heat level, omit the red pepper flakes.
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