Carrot and ginger soup

Carrot and ginger soupIt has been so cold this weekend that soup seemed the best option for a warming lunch, and I wanted something quick and not too heavy as we were going out to dinner. Waitrose have started selling very good value bags of  ‘not quite perfect’ carrots – though they look pretty immaculate to me – so I thought I’d make carrot soup. I used to have it often, but then got bored, and haven’t made it for a while. I fancied a fresh-tasting, really carroty soup with a bit of gingery heat. Makes enough for 3-4.

1 dstsp oil
½ onion
1 clove garlic
a walnut size piece of fresh ginger
600g carrots
750g vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Handful of parsley or coriander leaves
Greek yoghurt to serve if wished

Chop the onion finely. Top and tail the carrots, peel if necessary and chop into 2cm chunks. Heat the oil (I used groundnut but any neutral oil will be fine) in a large saucepan and fry the onion gently until soft. Meanwhile, crush or finely chop the garlic and peel and grate the ginger. When the onion has softened add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or two, stirring so it doesn’t stick. Heat the vegetable stock – I made it using Marigold vegetable bouillon.

Add the carrots, stir them about and then pour on the hot stock. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes until the carrots are really tender. Blend in a liquidiser or with a stick blender and season with salt and pepper. Chop the coriander leaves or parsley and serve the soup with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt and a generous sprinkle of herbs.

As a variation you could add some butternut squash (raw or, even better, left-over roasted squash) for a more velvety soup, or add a small fresh red chilli at the start to make it punchier. You could also top it with the spiced onions from this recipe for lentil and squash soup, or with a swirl of olive oil mixed with the finely-chopped herbs – both of which are dairy-free. This soup won’t win any awards, but it delivered some quick, cheap, carroty warmth on a cold day.

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