It is rare that the humble orange carrot gets any spotlight these days.  It definitely has it’s place in the culinary world, a key component of mirepoix, perhaps a side dish beside the glorified roast meat, or I can also think of the old fashioned carrot cake.

On a cold, wintery day, I decided that I would give this humble vegetable a chance to shine in my play of carrot and ginger soup.  What inspired me was discovering carrots from Jeju Island, which you can find in all the shops and markets now.  You can spot these easily as they are covered in black dirt that you would barely know they are just familiar carrots.  I once bought home pre-peeled, cleaned carrots nicely packaged ready-to-use (no doubt my old habits) when my mom said to me incredulously, “What is this? Next time buy the ones with the dirt.”  So I did.  The dirty carrots turn out to be super fresh, sweet, almost juicy when you cut it raw.  And it tastes divinely sweet when you thick julienne the carrot, saute briefly on high heat and season with salt (I realized this when I was making filling for gimbap).  I can imagine how good it would be roasted in the oven… (too bad I’m not one of the lucky ones with an oven in Korea).

So here is the rough recipe, as I did not do any measuring.  In the end, I added some maple syrup since it was kicking around and it made a world of a difference adding a lot more depth and balance of sweetness.

CARROT AND GINGER SOUP WITH MAPLE SYRUP

  • 3 large carrots, peeled, sliced
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled, cut roughly
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bouillon cube (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 3-4 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

1.  Saute the onion in the olive oil in a large pot until slightly caramelized.  Add ginger and saute for a few seconds.  Then add the chopped carrots and potatoes, and add water (or vegetable stock) until it covers the vegetables.  Throw in the bouillon cube if using.

2.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes (or until the vegetables are cooked).

3.  Off heat, carefully blend the soup to fine puree using a hand blender.

4.  Season with salt to taste, and add in sugar and maple syrup.

Note, it taste much better reheated the next day when the flavours have a chance to meld together.  It is also easy to freeze it into small portions.

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