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Carrot Soup with Orange and Ginger

Carrot Soup with Orange and Ginger
Pale brown, knobby fresh ginger adds a note of exotic, sweet spiciness to soups and other dishes. Look for smooth, shiny ginger with no cracks in the skin. Before slicing, chopping, mincing or grating, remove the thin skin using a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler. To grate fresh ginger, use the finest rasps on a standard handheld grater or use a specially designed ginger grater; this small, flat ceramic or light metal tool has tiny, very sharp teeth.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 leeks, including tender green portions,
     thinly sliced
  • 6 carrots, about 1 lb. total,
     peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 red potato, about 1/2 lb., peeled and
     coarsely diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. peeled and minced or
     grated fresh ginger
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp. grated orange zest
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • Thin orange slices for garnish (optional)
  • Fresh mint sprigs for garnish (optional)

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and sauté until just slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots, potato and ginger and sauté until the vegetables are just softened, about 5 minutes more.

Add the stock, cover partially and simmer until the vegetables are completely softened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches, leaving some texture, and return the soup to the pan. Alternatively, process with a stick blender in the pan until the desired consistency is reached. Set the pan over medium heat and stir in the orange juice and zest. Season with salt and white pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish each serving with an orange slice and a sprig of mint. Serves 4 to 6.

Serving Tip: For an alternative garnish, top the soup with fried ginger. Peel a 5-inch piece of ginger and slice it into a very fine julienne. In a small fry pan over medium-high heat, pour in vegetable oil to a depth of about 1/2 inch. When the oil is hot, fry the julienned ginger until crisp and golden brown, 20 to 30 seconds. Using a skimmer, transfer the ginger to a paper towel-lined plate or tray. When cool, divide the ginger into 4 to 6 portions and use to garnish each serving of soup.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Soup, by Diane Rossen Worthington (Simon & Schuster, 2001).