I have been craving soup recently. It could be because I overloaded on the typical Thanksgiving diet of too many sweets, potatoes and carbs. Or maybe because soup is just SO easy to make and even easier to reheat for lunch. Or maybe because the ingredients are inexpensive, yet as a whole provide a satisfying and warming meal. Soup is simple and uncomplicated.
When we returned home after being away for the holiday, I decided to whip up Bon Appetit's Faux Pho recipe. And it was... okay. The meat tasted tough and stringy and there was limited flavor. The ramen-like (or Chinese) noodles added much-needed texture but the mushrooms seemed to melt away into the broth. We ended up adding tablespoons of chili garlic paste and low-sodium soy sauce to wake up the soup, ending up with runny noses from the spice and too-full tummies. The magazine photograph was so compelling that even though it was a perfectly acceptable dinner, it was still a disappointment.
For lunch both days, I've enjoyed cups of miso soup. I love miso. The miso paste adds a brininess to the broth without being overly salty and the cubes of tofu and slippery seaweed are like little treasures hidden in the cloudy soup. Secret: I actually ordered in my soup. But I do have a Table for One recipe for chicken miso. Such a satisfying soup, it's quite easy to prepare, if you have miso paste on hand (which I don't right now).
Last night, I decided to make sandwich wraps. We love Ina Garten's curried chicken salad. Sometimes I skip the cashews and add whatever other nuts I have on hand (this time it was pistachios). I used only Greek yogurt (no need for mayonnaise) and a little ground ginger to compliment the sweet and tangy dried cranberries, punchy scallions and crunchy bits of minced celery.
While at the store, I thought a soup would go well with our sandwiches. So I went to purchase a large butternut squash. But upon walking to the check-out, I reconsidered. Bleh. Butternut squash. Who isn't over it right now? So instead I picked up a bag of loose carrots and two Granny Smith apples, planning to experiement when I got home.
I ended up making a tart and spicy pureed soup that was so divine, we were both spooning the very last drizzles of soup from the bowls into our mouths. The soup tasted creamy and warm, yet light and complex. Wine, butter and apples are the perfect companions for earthier and plainer root vegetables such as carrots, and the rosemary and thyme hit the right herbal notes. Easy to make, this carrot soup will go on our a rotating winter soup menu. I can even imagine eating this in the summer, chilled. I can't wait to make it again. And in fact, am craving it.
Gingered Carrot and Apple Soup
Serves 4 (or 2 with 2 portions)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3 sprigs of thyme leaves (stems discarded)
Rosemary leaves from 1 stem (stem discarded, leaves chopped)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup white wine (dry)
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a medium Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Saute the onions, celery, carrots and apples with the herbs until the apples and onions are translucent, about 5 - 7 minutes.
2. Add the spices, wine and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 20 - 30 minutes until the carrots and apples are tender.
3. Use a hand-held immersion blender (or alternatively a blender in batches) and puree until creamy and smooth.
4. Adjust the seasoning and serve warm.