Secret confession: I’ve never had carrot ginger soup before. No, really. I like carrots, I like ginger. I don’t know why I’ve never combined the two before.
Soup is a comfort food staple, to me, and I rarely mess with it. I have to admit though that as I’ve been getting older, I’ve been getting a little more adventurous with spicy and bold. Maybe my taste buds just aren’t as keen as they’ve used to be. At any rate, carrot soup was an adventure I had not yet undertaken, and it was time to rectify that. I have seen lots of variations on the carrot and ginger theme, after all, so clearly it’s a popular combination.
Yesterday was a quiet day in the kitchen for me, doing research and working on recipes. I love these sorts of days, truly. Sun shines in, I have my cup of tea, and simmering from the stove makes a pleasant white noise while I sit at the table with my laptop and write while things are cooking.
You guys know how I love trivia of all kinds. I’ve rhapsodized about ginger and its anti-inflammatory properties before, so I thought maybe I’d get my trademark geek on about carrots this time. Surely, I thought, there’s got to be something interesting I don’t know about carrots.
HOLY CRAP, is there ever.
There’s so many that there’s an entire museum dedicated to weird carrot facts. Who knew? I grabbed a handful that blew my mind and then independently verified them. Sharing time!
- The old parental lecture that carrots give you awesome night vision is actually an urban legend from WWII. It was invented to conceal the British’s invention of radar technology from Germany. Eating lots of carrots is the reason we can shoot you out of the sky at night, Nazis.
- Carrots are an exception to the “vegetables are healthier eaten raw” rule. Cooking the carrots allows your body access as much as 10x the beta carotene antioxidant that it would get when you snack on raw. More reason to make the soup recipe below, eh?
- Scientists in the UK developed a material they called Curran from nano fibers found in carrots. It’s about as strong as carbon fiber. They used it to make a fishing rod. Apparently they also got kicked out of grocery stores for buying up all the carrots for their experiments.
- Carrot seeds come from a green stem that shoots up and flowers. It takes two years to get a carrot plant to grow to maturity (before it will seed). They’re so small that a teaspoon can hold as many as 2000 carrot seeds.
- Prior to the 17th century, most carrots were purple or white. Rumor has it that the orange carrot is actually a mutation cultivated by the Dutch (who were big carrot farmers back in the day) to honor the House of Orange during independence struggles. But the orange carrots were also much sweeter and more palatable, so who is to say for sure?
Okay, I’m all nerded out. Back to the soup, which whipped together in like a mere half hour and was a glorious, shocking orange once I pureed the carrots. Pumpkin, eat your heart out.
I’ve spent decades thickening the soups I love so well in the old ways, mostly using corn starch or roux. And for the most part that worked well… when I was making things like beef stews and chicken soup. But as I’ve been broadening my soup experiences, I’ve been realizing that those two just can’t always cut the mustard. Case in point, I’ve been futzing with my cream of potato soup for years trying to perfect it, cause I don’t like the grit of the roux in it. Milk alone was too thin; cream was too rich. And while I have used Carnation® Evaporated Milk for decades, it was mostly in traditional dessert recipes, making homemade nougats and fudges and pies.
Never occurred to me until recently to try it in these creamy soups, to get that cream-like thickness without as much fat (it’s available in Carnation® Regular, 2% or Fat Free Evaporated Milk) and without having to simmer the soup for hours. But you see? Old dogs can learn new tricks.
For instant creaminess in any soup, just pour and stir in the last couple minutes.
- 2 tbsp Crisco® Vegetable or Canola Oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 4 cups peeled, sliced carrots (about 1 ½ lb/750g)
- 4 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¾ cup Carnation® Regular, 2% or Fat Free Evaporated Milk
- Heat oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic. Saute until tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add carrots. Stir to combine well. Add chicken stock. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Puree soup using a hand held immersion blender, blender or food processor.
- Return to saucepan. Stir in evaporated milk.
- Cook over low heat 5 minutes.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Make extra soup and freeze to have on hand. Soup may thicken so just add a bit of stock or water to thin out to desired consistency.
For this and more creamy and delicious fall soup recipes and every-day dinner ideas, check out the Carnation® Evaporated Milk website.
Disclaimer: Although this post has been generously sponsored by Smucker Foods of Canada Corp. and they sent me free product samples, the opinions and language are all my own, and in no way do they reflect Smucker Foods of Canada Corp.