How I had longed for fall! During the global-warming induced spell of unseasonable heat and humidity a couple of weeks ago, all I could think about were the lovely stews and slow roasted vegetables I was going to make as soon as it got cold. I passed by the butternut squash, apples and collard greens at the farmers’ market, knowing that it made so sense to buy them as long as tomato season insisted on hanging around well into October. I longed for the crisp cool weather that would inspire me to spend time in the kitchen again.
But crisp, fall weather seems to have passed us by, and instead rain falls day after day in a never-ending drizzle. This week? Exactly through hours of sunshine. I was in a meeting and missed them. This month? We’ve had three days of sunshine since the beginning of October. The less sun I get, the more I feel like staying in bed all day, eating chocolate and rebelling against nature’s sick, sad sense of humor.
Still, one has to eat, and in order to eat, one has to cook. I crawled out of bed to chop vegetables for this soup, then crawled right back in while it simmered. I let it cool while still in bed, got up to puree it, and I had a little dish of sunshine: pure, carrot-y goodness, flavored with the warmth of ginger to dispell the cold that has settled into my bones.
The secret to the soup lies in the ginger: rather than sauteing the ginger with the other aromatics, grate it, then squeeze the precious ginger juice directly into the finished soup just before it’s served. This gives the ginger a brightness that is lost if you simmer it with the other ingredients.
No, the soup doesn’t make up for the weather. It doesn’t even come close. But things would be worse without it.
You could add a dollop of creme fraiche, but I just use whole milk yogurt because that’s what I happen to have in my fridge most of the time.
As always, these quantities are just a guideline. One caveat: Be sure that you maintain a high carrot to celery proportion. Too much celery and the soup will lose that warm orange color, and look like something the cat puked up instead.
2 lb. carrots, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 med yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tart apple, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart chicken broth
1 in. piece of ginger
1/2 c. plain yogurt
2 tbsp. parsley
salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in large, wide bottomed dutch oven. Add onions, and saute until wilted. Add carrots and celery and saute, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are bright in color and fragrant. Add garlic and apple and saute 2-3 minutes more.
Add chicken broth. Bring to boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, until carrots are very, very soft. You should be able to mash one against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.
Let cool completely, then puree in batches in a blender. Return to pot, heat slowly. Grate ginger, then squeeze to extract juice, adding to soup. Stir yogurt in a small bowl, then add to soup. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.