When I was a kid, one of my favorite TV shows was "The Magic School Bus". I remembe one episode where one character ate nothing but carrots for a week and so, his skin turned orange (a condition officially called "carotenemia"). In truth, this can actually happen (mostly in your palms), and it can take up to 30 days for your skin to return to a non-carrot color. (Fellow fans -- did anyone else feel bad that ALL of the bad stuff always happened to Arnold? Seriously. The kid was just the show's whipping boy.) But don't let this possibility deter you, folks. Carrots are so nutritious and naturally packed with so much flavor that cooking with them hardly requires anything fancy to make something delicious.
I've made a variation of this soup before, with potatoes and ground ginger. Personally, I'm not a big fan of potatoes, so I like this version best-- the carrot flavor is perfectly balanced with the creaminess of the soup, and it's only made better with crispy ginger on top. C.Ly, DT, and I feasted last night on this soup and it was supposed to just be the appetizer!
Thanks to my good friend Bill for the photo-- I didn't have my camera with me when I made the soup, but luckily he decided to try it and took a picture of this half-eaten bowl. Yoink! :]
Carrot Soup (serves 6)
2 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
1 c half and half
1/4 c butter
1 t ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (optional, but so worth having!)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Put the vegetable stock in a large pot and bring to a low boil. Drop in your carrot pieces and let that simmer for a while. The softer the better, so there's no such thing as "too much" for this recIpe.
2. Chop your onions and sauté in a bit of oil until they become slightly translucent. Add the cumin powder and some salt an pepper slightly before you take the onions off the heat.
3. Add the onions to the simmering carrots and broth. Simmer some more.
4. Heat up oil in your skillet again and drop in julienned ginger. Fry until golden brown and let that drain on a pape towel. Sprinkle a little salt on top for extra flavor.
5. Once your carrots are nice and soft, pour the broth and vegetables into a blender. Add in the half and half and purée the mixture until it's a smooth, gorgeous orange color.
6. Put the purée back into your pot and add the butter. Stir until melted and well-integrated into the soup. Heat to desirable temperature again (if necessary).
7. Serve with the fried ginger sprinkled on top.
Be careful-- this soup is so good, you just might turn orange from eating too much!