Monday, August 25, 2008

Rooted in Fiber

Talk about your inexpensive, good-smelling, sinus-clearing soup: this is a recipe from Soup by Williams-Sonoma, a book I turn to again and again for simple, accomplishable soup recipes. The first time I made their Carrot Soup with Ginger and Orange, I was expecting a healthy bowl, but one I'd more or less be forcing on myself (and others) for health's sake. Surprised we all were that this soup tasted rich. I'm not sure what magic ginger holds that makes it both clearingly light and duskily filling at the same time, but I like it. The orange zest also contributes to the richness, I think.

A tip: buy a real-live orange for the juice and zest (zest is the colorful part of the fruit's skin--just grate the fruit shallowly, before you get to the white underskin). Prepared o.j. doesn't cut it in a soup with so few ingredients.

Carrot Soup with Orange and Ginger
(from Soup by Williams-Sonoma)

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, including tender green parts, thinly sliced (wash these well!)
  • 6 carrots, about 1 pound, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 red potato, about 1/2 pound, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock or prepared broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper (black is fine too)
  • garnishes: thin orange slices; fresh mint sprigs
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the leeks and saute until just slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots, potato, and ginger and saute until the vegetables are just softened, about 5 minutes longer.
  2. Add the stock, cover partially, and simmer until the vegetables are completely softened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. 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 handheld blender in the pan until the desired consistency is reached. Return the soup to medium heat and stir in the orange juice and zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish each serving with an orange slice and a sprig of mint.

    serves 4-6