It’s finally the season for soup once again; the days of putting stuff in a pot, leaving it for half an hour, then blitzing it and calling it a meal are upon us. Superb. That’s exactly the level of effort I want to make in the dead of winter. Less, if at all possible.
This recipe came about because I recently had to buy fresh ginger for another meal I was making, and I kind of ended up getting about 20 times more than I actually needed – a common occurrence with root ginger. We have a tumultuous relationship, wherein I let it rot on top of the fridge, and it glares at me resentfully every time I enter the kitchen. I never learn.
I’m not usually a fan of following soup recipes (with Nigel Slater’s cheddar and cider soup being the one glorious exception), but my general opinion on soup is that it should be thick and flavourful. A thin soup is naught but a broth, and anybody calling it soup is a cad and a scoundrel. Possibly also a bounder.
Also the word ‘soup’ is losing all meaning for me now.
Aside from the initial chopping (and the final blending – which sounds like something from Doctor Who), this is a case of leaving things to bubble away, so it’s perfect if you want to stay wrapped up on the sofa for as long as humanly possible during the cooking process.
Finally, before we get to the heart of the matter, ginger is meant to have many health benefits (besides being generally vibrant and warming), including the soothing of nausea. I also have a vague notion that it’s an anti-inflammatory? I mean, I’m not a doctor. This is just soup. Let’s not get too deep here.
Creamy Carrot & Ginger Soup (Vegetarian, Gluten-free)
Serves 6 (2sp per portion*)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Large pot with a lid; cutting and stirring paraphernalia; teaspoon; box grater; some kind of blender (I prefer hand/stick blender, as it limits washing up); a problematic relationship with root ginger (optional).
- 3-4 large carrots
- 3 medium potatoes (roughly 150g)
- Thumb-sized piece of ginger (roughly a heaping tablespoon when chopped/grated)
- 2 medium red onions
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 100g low fat cream cheese (I use Philadelphia Greek Style)
- 1 litre boiled water (you might want more or less than this – read on, Macduff)
- Salt & pepper
- Splash of oil/cooking spray
- Boil a kettle, get your pot on a low heat and add your oil/cooking spray while you prep the veg. Give your carrots and potatoes a scrub – no need to peel them – and set aside. Peel and dice your onions and garlic, then cube your potatoes. Chop off the smaller end of the carrots and then grate them, leaving behind the scratty end to hold onto. Put everything into the pot with salt & pepper, then give it a stir.
- Now it’s the teaspoon’s time to shine! It’s an old trick but it delights me every time. Use the edge of the spoon to scrape the skin off the ginger (in any other context this is definitely a hate crime) and hey presto, you have a hunk o’ root that’s ready to be finely chopped and thrown in your pot. In fact, do just that! Give it a stir and crumble over the stock cube, finally covering everything with the water. I like a nice thick soup so I make sure everything is just covered, but you can add more water if you (hisssss) want this to be more brothy.
- Leave the soup to simmer away for around 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and tender. Add the cream cheese and blitz everything until smooth. Serve in deep bowls, preferably with a good hunk of bread. You should probably be wearing a jumper too, just to get the full effect.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out; I’d never used ginger in a soup before and, though I knew ginger & carrot were a common duo, I wasn’t sure if the balance was right. To my mind, it turned out perfectly. This soup is hearty, warming, and creamy without being too heavy on fats, and the ginger gives it a pleasant heat that made me very happy.
I hope you’re all faring well in this chilly weather – drive carefully (or walk carefully, mentioning no names**) and eat your greens. I’m serious. Kale or something. It’s good for you.
*I used a tablespoon of vegetable oil because 2sp per portion is still damn good for a hearty meal; if you use cooking spray this will be around 9sp for the whole pot (1 or 2sp per portion).
**It’s you, Emma. I’m talking about you.