Ginger Carrot Soup
With Coconut Milk & Caraway Breadcrumbs
When the leaves begin to turn and there’s a bit of a chill in the air, I often make soup to help chase the thoughts of impending cold weather away. Soups are wonderful for a light lunch, as an easy appetizer or for a warming dinner served with a loaf of crusty bread. We always keep frozen French baguettes on hand – it only takes 8 minutes in the oven to warm them.
Some of my favorite soups are made with puréed vegetables. Potato leek is one of my favorites as is carrot soup. When you think of carrots, you probably remember the taste from your childhood, when carrots are introduced as one of the first vegetables given to babies. Their earthy, sweet flavor can be kicked up a notch with some grated fresh ginger and a little coconut milk. Since the carrots cook quickly, you’ll probably spend more time peeling and chopping them than cooking them. For the best soup, opt for carrots from a local farmers market or organic produce as most mass-produced vegetables lack the delicious flavors we remember.
Add an elegant touch to your carrot soup by topping it with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt or even with a touch of homemade pesto. My favorite topping is fresh breadcrumbs
CARROT GINGER SOUP with COCONUT MILK & CARAWAY BREADCRUMBS
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 pounds of carrots, peeled and sliced
1 ½ inch piece of fresh ginger, finely grated or chopped
8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1 can (13.5 ounce) coconut milk*
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onions and sauté on medium heat until soft and translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and sauté lightly. Do not let the garlic or onions brown or this will affect the flavor and color of the soup.
Add the sliced carrots and continue cooking for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, to soften them a bit. If necessary, add a little more oil. Stir in the ginger root.
Add the stock and bring to a boil then adjust the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the carrots are soft, but not mushy. Remove the soup from the heat.
Shake the can of coconut milk vigorously before opening. If not, you’ll need to use a spoon or spatula to help remove the coconut cream which may have separated from the coconut water. Stir the coconut milk into the soup.
Purée the soup using an immersion blender or regular stand-up blender. If you are using a regular blender, be careful to work in small batches at a time and hold down the top with a towel as the hot soup may expand and pop the top off your blender.
When ready to serve, reheat the soup over low heat while you prepare the topping. Melt the butter in a small frying pan (I use a 5” Lodge cast iron pan). Add the fresh breadcrumbs and caraway seeds and sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted and golden brown.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top each serving with some caraway breadcrumbs.
*My favorite brand of coconut milk is A Taste of Thai Unsweetened Coconut Milk