And so begins the Week of All Food, Thanksgiving week. The only holiday dedicated solely to cooking and eating (and appreciating the people you cook and eat with) is on Thursday and, as you would expect, I’m super excited and have all sorts of capital-P Plans. But since I know the latter half of this week will be overflowing with treats in all forms, savory and sweet, better to start the week with something light.
I’ve already mentioned that soup is one of my favorite dishes this time of year, and this particular one is just so good for so many occasions. Feeling like you’ve over-indulged in all that fall and winter have to offer (or know you’re about to)? This is substantial enough to satisfy, but won’t make you feel like taking a four hour nap after one bowl. Coming down with a bug and not in the mood for chicken soup? Copious amounts of ginger, garlic, and carrot are all fantastic for fighting whatever ails you. Or simply feeling especially virtuous? You will feel like a saint when you pull this out of your bag for lunch.
And now, a bit of a diversion–I was lucky enough to meet Deb Perelman who writes the Smitten Kitchen food blog (the source for this particular recipe) on Sunday, and it was amazing. Rare, perfect mid-November weather in Chicago, one of my favorite neighborhoods, awesome indie bookstore, and great company with the friend who introduced me to the Smitten Kitchen blog (thank you again Katherine!). Could it get much better? Turns out, yes!
Deb was, as expected, incredibly kind and generous to the huge crowd of people anxious to meet her, taking a few minutes to talk to everyone. And personally, when I mentioned that she inspired me to set up shop in this little corner of the internet and told her the name of the blog, she asked if I commented on her site because the name sounded familiar. Oh yes. This blog sounded familiar to Deb Perelman. Shut the doors, turn off the lights, we’re done here because it can’t get better than that.
Makes about 6 generous or 8 lighter servings. Adapted from the inimitable Smitten Kitchen and her carrot soup with miso and sesame.
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 to 6 cups (a bit over 2 pounds) thinly sliced carrots (a mandolin comes in very handy here), a few slices reserved
1 large onion, finely chopped
4-5 tablespoons (about 4 very large cloves) garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoon ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white miso paste, or to taste
Toasted sesame oil
Green onion, raw or lightly sauteed in olive oil
Shitake mushrooms, sliced and lightly sauteed
Reserved carrot slices
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but before the garlic begins to brown, another minute or so. Add carrots and ginger, stir to combine, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the whole thing smells delicious. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for another 30 minutes or so, until carrots are very tender. Remove from heat.
If you have an immersion blender, blend soup in the pot; if using a regular blender (carefully!!) blend soup in small batches until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the soup with the miso, then stir into the soup. Taste and season with additional miso or salt.
Top each serving with a drizzle of sesame oil, raw or lightly cooked green onions or mushrooms, or a few raw carrot slices.