Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Carrot, Honey and Ginger Soup- Soup Hall of Fame

This is a fantastic recipe that I've made once a year or so for many years. Carrots aren't my favourite vegetable it must be said, but I do like this soup.

 It's from one of Nick Nairn's earliest books Wild Harvest. I don't think I've ever managed to make another recipe from this book, I just keep making this one, over and over again. 

Nick Nairn has six Basic Soup Rules

1) Use a ratio of approximately 25% onion to the main vegetable ingredient

2) Cut the vegetables into the smallest pieces practicable- a 5mm (1/4 in) dice. This reduces cooking time. 

3) Always add boiling water to the vegetables as this reduces the time that the soup is off the boil where it can "stew" and lose its freshness.

4) Once cooked, liquidise the soup and cool it as quickly as possible- this keeps its quality and flavour.

5) It's much easier to make a big batch of soup. That way you can freeze it in handy-size portions and then reliquidise it one defrosted and re-heated. 

6) The soup is cooked once the vegetables are soft and tender. Timing varies for different vegetables. 

The rule that I've really taken to heart is #3. I always had hot water or stock now to every soup. It does really make it taste fresher and less "stewed". Brilliant. So simple.

Carrot, Honey and Ginger Soup

Fabby colour. Easy to make. Tastes great. Cheap. What more do you want?

80g (3 oz) unsalted butter
150g (5oz) onion, thinly sliced
20g (3/4 oz) root ginger, peeled
750g (1 1/2 lb) carrots, peeled and grated
1 tblsp (15mL) clear honey
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsps Maldon salt
5 turns fresh ground white pepper
900mL (1 1/2 pints) boiling water

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions and stir to coat- don't let the onions go brown. Using the flat edge of a heavy knife, crush the ginger (this releases the oil). Add this to the onions and let them sweat for ten minutes.

Now add the grated carrot, honey, lemon juice and seasoning. Stir well. Pour in the boiling water and bring it back to the boil. Simmer for 45 minutes. (You may have to add a little more water during this time to allow for evaporation).

Remove the pan from the heat and liquidise the contents (with a hand-held blender or in the liquidiser) until smooth and creamy.

I have always grated the ginger for the recipe as I like the texture better, and don't trust my hand blender to be able to cope with bigger chunks of ginger.

I had run out of Maldon this time, and substituted an Australian sea salt, and found it to be much too salty. I did think about cutting down on the salt, but then added the two teaspoons whilst on autopilot. Oops.

I used the blender this time, and it gave a lighter, fluffier consistency. I really must either work out how to sharpen my hand blender blades, or it's time for a new one I suspect.

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