Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Carrot, Orange, and Ginger Soup

When multiple 4-year-olds beg to be put to work in the kitchen, there is no better gig than peeling carrots. Don't drift off here, this tidbit might prove particularly useful on Thanksgiving morning, especially if your day goes anything like mine. You'll be dodging a kitchen floor Lego tower, boiling potatoes, simmering cranberries in Zinfandel, separating Brussels Sprouts into individual leaves, rolling out pie crust, and searching for the AWOL box of Panko to a constant warble of "I wanna help."
Hand over a bag of carrots and a peeler and you're free and clear for a half hour, forty minutes if you're lucky. For the record, 4-year-olds are also adept and unhurried at squeezing water out of thawed frozen spinach. File it away.
What to do with those 13 freshly peeled carrots? How about a vat of hearty, bright, gut-warming gingery carrot and orange soup? It works for me.
You just can't beat a good soup this time of year. Here the carrots and orange marry for a humble but optimistic base while the ginger nips at your tongue ever so slightly with each and every sip. It would make a perfect Thanksgiving first course, or save some turkey stock after the big day and whip this up as a healthful recovery lunch.
Carrot, Orange, and Ginger Soup
adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook

4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
2 pounds carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
6 cups turkey stock (or chicken or vegetable stock) - divided
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
salt and pepper to taste
orange slices and zest for garnish

1. Melt the butter over low heat in a large, heavy pot with a lid. Add the onions, cover and cook until soft and lightly golden, about 25 minutes.
2. Add the carrots, ginger, and 4 cups of stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 30 minutes until the carrots are very tender. Use an immersion blender to puree soup to desired consistency, adding more of the reserved stock as needed. Alternatively, transfer the hot soup in batches to a blender and puree, adding more stock as needed, until you have your desired consistency.
3. Return soup to pot (if you used the blender method) and stir in the orange juice. Season with salt and pepper. Warm over low heat until heated through. Top each serving with an orange slice and a sprinkle of freshly grated orange zest.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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