Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Please forgive me…

Better to ask for your forgiveness right up front, isn’t it? See, I’m about to talk about the holidays, which makes my head spin a little thinking of just how fast this year is flying by, and maybe you feel the same way, too. So if you’re not quite ready to hear about it yet, I apologize in advance…

Normally I wouldn’t be talking about Thanksgiving during the first week of October, but this is for a good cause. Foodbuzz has partnered with Frigidaire for the Talk Turkey campaign to benefit Save the Children and they need your help. Go to Make Time for Change to “talk turkey” and Frigidaire donates $1 every time (plus you could win a new range). I’ll wait here until you come back…

Okay, now that you’ve done your good deed for the day, let’s talk turkey! Well, not really turkey…it’s more like “let’s talk soup,” but that doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it? In any case, soup is a Thanksgiving tradition around here, along with my dad’s perfectly barbecued turkey. Oh, the turkey…injected with a salty, sweet, citrusy concoction, sage under skin, stuffed with apple and onion; this turkey is the stuff dreams are made of, if you happen to dream of crispy-skinned turkeys with the most tender meat ever.

Back to the soup…every year, my dad and I launch a test kitchen to create our holiday dinner dishes. These test kitchens are highly entertaining, as each of us thinks we know better, and keep an eagle eye out for the other to make a mistake so we can point it out and laugh and laugh and laugh. Like last year, when my dad was sautéing leeks and let the whole pan burn. You remember that, don’t you Dad? Ah, good times. (He blamed it on my stove being hotter than his…uh-huh, sure.) Seriously though, I have both wonderful and hilarious memories of these sessions together and our test kitchens are as much a part of our tradition as the actual holiday meal.

There are always some time-honored aspects to our dinners, like the turkey and maybe a twist on stuffing or mashed potatoes, but don’t come to us if you’re looking for candied yams, green bean casserole, or canned cranberry sauce. We like to go a bit overboard to see what we can come up with, and every year it’s a different menu. For the past several years though, we’ve started the meal with a soup.

There’s been shrimp bisque, butternut squash, creamy broccoli cheese, and this year it will be carrot…spicy carrot ginger to be exact.

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped shallots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 pounds carrots, chopped
1 cup chopped leeks
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
3-14.5 ounce cans low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté shallots until soft. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 30 seconds.

Add carrots, leeks, celery, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cook mixture for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots have started to soften.

Stir in white wine, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon. Simmer until the wine is completely reduced. Then add the chicken broth and stir in cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer and cover, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes. Mixture is ready when carrots are completely soft.

Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture in the pot until smooth. Stir in cream and heat soup through. Adjust seasonings as needed. (If soup is too thick, add a little extra broth.)

It never fails that when I use the immersion blender soup splatters all over me, the stove, the floor and maybe the dog (if he’s taken his post at my feet to lick up all my mess). This time I actually managed to get soup in my eye. It hurt. A lot. Thankfully, my dad wasn’t there to see this, or I would still be hearing about it. He’s probably still looking to get back at me after the leeks incident.

Unless you sustain an eye injury from it, you will love this soup, which gets a slight minty flavor from the carrots, a little zing from the ginger and a lingering spice from the cayenne pepper. It’s the perfect start to a Thanksgiving meal.

I created this post as part of Frigidaire's Talk Turkey Campaign. Share your own recipes and tips at Frigidaire's Make Time for Change site. For every recipe or tip that's shared, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save The Children's U.S. Programs, which creates lasting change for children in need.


  1. Oooh! Talk Thanksgiving all you want! This looks fantastically delicious :)

  2. Looks good! I bet the wine and cream give it a great flavor.

  3. The soup has a fantastic bright color, looks delicious!

  4. hmmm...there's so much i loved in this post of yours...best of all the test kitchen...i think the perfect or near perfect father-daughter bonding is the best bond in the world.

    i cannot help flagging this recipe. if i could buy some leeks i could straight away go for it...though the weather is arghhh jus not soupy right now.

    the pics are simply lovable. i hope it becomes food buzz top 9. will keep my fingers crossed for you!

    hope your husband is fit and healthy now!

    sorry for this loooong a comment ;P

  5. What a beautiful colour...this soup is a great onfort food!!
    Have a nice day

  6. Ooo, I have to check out the frigidaire thing...sounds like a good cause. This soup looks wonderful!

  7. Looks delicious.. love the cayenne addition here. I for one am EXCITED for the holidays.. especially Thanksgiving :)

  8. What a fun thing to do with your Dad! This sound looks wonderful! I am not quite ready for Thanksgiving, but it will be here soon enough.

  9. What a fun thing to do with your Dad! This sound looks wonderful! I am not quite ready for Thanksgiving, but it will be here soon enough.

  10. I love that you cook with your Dad! That is so sweet! Not too many daughters can say they share this hobby with their pops! Very sweet!
    I also love your recipe! Can't wait to try it!

  11. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and this looks perfect for it!

  12. Beautiful pictures! This soup sounds perfect for the holidays.

  13. Thats a beautiful looking soup.. yummm!

    Richa @ Hobby And More Food Blog

  14. Gorgeous soup, Karen!!! I love the color and the bit of spice from the cayenne. YUM.

  15. This is on my "to do" list - it looks and sounds delicious!

  16. That is a fantastic soup! I love the color of it. It is so bright and inviting. The ingredients in this are right up my alley. Thank you very much for sharing this

  17. This is exactly what I am craving as the weather starts turning colder. Love fall and the flavors that come with it!

  18. Congrats on the Top 9 today! Your soup is gorgeous. I love how you cook with your Dad. My husband and my step children usually make Thanksgiving dinner every other year which is something that the whole family looks forward to.

  19. Great post - so wonderful that you and your dad have fun creating in your Thanksgiving test kitchen! Beautiful soup and photos - congrats on the Top 9!

  20. Wow! This is my kind of soup. I ca taste it right now :). Congratulations on the top 9!

  21. Yum! This recipe looks scrumptious. Great shots too!

  22. Oh yum! This soup sounds so good and definitely would be a perfect addition to Thanksgiving dinner =)

  23. Wow! Sounds superb.