carrot and ginger soup

7:37:00 PM

We are lucky to live in an area with such awesome farmer’s markets. We live within walking distance of the famous Dane County Farmer’s Market, which runs year-round, and there’s also one all summer at the park right by our place. We are pretty much guaranteed to be able to access a farmer’s market any day of the week all summer long. It’s a huge blessing (and I sort of hate that word.)

The Dane County Farmer’s Market is very selective - only producers of food are allowed to sell (that is, you can’t sell someone else’s stuff) and some producers travel hours and hours every week to sell. It’s a big deal.

The winter market is much smaller, and mostly consists of storage vegetables, as you’d expect in Wisconsin. One thing that’s delicious all year round though are the carrots. Mmm. 

This soup is so cool, you guys. It’s essentially all vegetables, and is so crisp and refreshing. I actually brought this to work cold in a mason jar and drank it like a savory smoothie - this would be so good in summer, too. As with every soup I make, it’s made better with the addition of bread and salad.

Because this soup is so dependent on the flavor of the carrots, do not skimp on the ingredients for this soup. Get the best, freshest carrots you can, preferably from a farmer’s market if you’re able. The broth is made mainly with carrot juice and water - no broth here supplement flavor. It makes for a super pure, clean tasting soup. 

Carrot juice is often found with the refrigerated juices, often in the produce department in the store. Get 100% carrot juice, nothing with additives or other fruits/vegetables. Or, if you have a juicer, make your own. I believe I bought our carrot juice at Target, Bolthouse Farms brand (not an endorsement for them, by the way - not a believer in juicing, but grateful they offer this drink!) 

Crystallized ginger is ginger that has been cooked and then coated in sugar. It’s quite potent and I don’t love it personally (lots of people seem to love it as candy) but it’s fantastic and essential to the soup. I find it next to the fresh ginger and bottled ginger in the supermarket, but you can always order it online  as well. Despite the seemingly large quantity of ginger in this recipe, it really only tastes faintly of ginger, and it melds so perfectly with the carrots. 

Carrot Ginger Soup
makes about 6 servings

2 tbsp butter (or olive oil for vegan or preference)
2 medium onions, diced
1 tbsp peeled, grated fresh ginger
¼ cup minced crystallized ginger
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar (optional)
2 lbs of carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
4 cups water (don’t use broth, it’ll mute the flavor of carrots)
1 ½ cups 100% carrot juice
1 tbsp fresh thyme
½ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
for serving, optional: sour cream, chopped chives

Heat butter or olive oil in a large pot (that has a cover) over medium heat, then add the onions, both types of ginger, garlic, 2 tsp salt, and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high, then add the carrots, water, half of the carrot juice (¾ cup), thyme, baking soda. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer with a cover on for about 20-25 minutes or util carrots are really tender.

Blend the soup. Even if you have an immersion blender, the best way to blend this is in a couple batches in an actual blender.  This is a soup that should be really, really smooth, and given the tough nature of ginger, it’s really best to do this in a standard blender. Pour about half the soup into the blender, take the plastic centerpiece out of the lid, cover with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel, and blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl, repeat with the rest of the soup, then pour it all back into the pot. Stir in vinegar and remaining 3/4 cup carrot juice. Return to simmer over medium heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sprinkle of chives and dollop of sour cream. If you want the swirl effect, put sour cream into a plastic sandwich bag in one corner, cut a tiny bit off the corner, then squeeze on top of soup.

Serve with bread and/or salad, if desired. 

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