It's cold outside. Really cold.
Temperatures took a dive into the teens Tuesday night, so my evening walk with the dog was very brief (i.e. down the street and back). The weather also affected the dinner menu. A cold salad? No way. I rummaged through the fridge and opted to make Carrot-Apple-Ginger soup.
This soup, or a variation thereof, was a standby when I attended culinary school back in the early 1990s. It was a new flavor combination for me, having grown up on cans of Campbell's chicken noodle and tomato soup, with the occasional tin of cream of mushroom thrown in on special occasions. I was amazed that simply simmering a few ingredients together could result in something so rich and flavorful.
Carrot-Apple-Ginger soup lends itself to a myriad of interpretations. Use pear in place of apple, a winter squash instead of carrot — just don't leave out the ginger. It provides the underlying oomph that makes this simple soup something special.
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons butter
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
5-6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil and butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and a pinch of salt, cooking until the vegetables are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, apples and ginger, cook for a minute or two, then add the stock or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the carrots are soft (about 25 minutes) then puree with a blender (immersion or standing) adding more liquid as needed. Season to taste and serve.