The carrots lend this soup a beautiful shade of orange and the ginger adds a nice little nip and takes the edge off the sweetness of the carrots. Spinach balances the whole thing out with a pleasant freshness and hint of bitterness.
Makes about 6 cups (4 larger or 6 smaller portions)
1 large or 2 small leeks (14 ounces)
One 2-inch length fresh ginger (3/4 ounce), peeled and cut into rounds
6 medium carrots, (about ¾ pound), peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
4 lightly packed cups (4 ounces) baby spinach
1. Cut the roots and dark green parts off the leek(s). Cut the leek(s) in half lengthwise and rinse them under cold water, flipping back the layers of the leek to get rid of any dirt. Cut the leeks into big chunks.
2. Fit the chopping blade into the work bowl. Chop the leeks, carrots and on speed 5 for 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Add the olive oil and butter and cook at 90 C on speed 2 for 10 minutes.
3. Pour in the broth and cook at 100 C on speed 2 for 25 minutes. (The carrots should be tender.)
4. Remove the measuring cap and let the soup cool 20 minutes.
5. Replace the measuring cap in the lid. Blend on speed 7 for 25 seconds. The soup should be smooth and thick and mound gently on a spoon. If the soup seems too thick or grainy, add about ½ cup water and blend until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Add the spinach to the work bowl, “tuck it into” the soup (to make sure it is all submerged) and cook at 80 C on speed 2 for 1 minute, just to wilt the spinach and mix it through the soup. Serve hot or cold.
· Carrot-Ginger Soup with Sweet Shrimp: Add 6 peeled and deveined shrimp cut into 1-inch lengths to the work bowl after pureeing the soup. Cook at 80 C on speed 1 for 3 minutes. Add the spinach and proceed as above.
· Pumpkin/Winter Squash Soup: Substitute 1 pound peeled butternut squash or pumpkin—be sure to pick a “sweet” cooking variety of pumpkin—for the carrots. Many markets now carry butternut squash already peeled and ready to go. Add ½ teaspoon ground allspice or ¼ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and cloves along with the broth and continue as above.