When I was in college, I had the opportunity to study abroad, and live with a French family for about 5 months. One of my more vivid memories is of my “french mother” being in the kitchen constantly, from about 1PM until dinner time. Dinners wouldn’t happen until about 8:30PM. They always were for the whole family, and they were not single course affairs. Often, we would start with “potage”, or what we’d think of more commonly as soup. Many customs and traditions were strange and completely new to me during this experience, and this was once of them.
Before that experience, my soup exposure had been limited to the canned variety, and mostly when I was sick. Having it as a first course, as a source of comfort, and as a thick, delicious treat was something entirely else.
The depth of flavor, and also the sheer sense of comfort that it brought on many a homesick and cold Parisian day that winter, are two memories that will likely remain with me forever.
I recently had the ginger carrot soup from the Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook, “It’s All Easy”, and it brought me back to Paris in an instant. Technically a "potage" contains vegetables and meat, but the consistency and texture of this to me is so reminiscent, that in this case I think we’ll put it in the same category. I’ve made a few changes, and thought I’d share with you this wonderfully light, but complex version of what on the surface may seem like just a simple soup, but in fact is so much more.
Carrot Ginger “Potage”
2 T Coconut Oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 T grated or chopped fresh ginger
1 t ground cumin
1 lb carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cups vegetable stock
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
- Heat the coconut oil in a cast iron or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion and a pinch of salt, and saute over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the onion is translucent and soft.
- Add the garlic and ginger, saute for 1 minute, then add the cumin and saute for one additional minute.
- Add the carrots, stock and another big pinch of salt and bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until carrots are tender.
- Transfer the soup in batches to a blender OR blend the soup directly in the pot with an immersion blender (my method of choice). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Enjoy - preferably with the whole family around a cozy, happy table! I love to have this with toasted crunchy bread and cheese, or avocado toast. It would also make a beautiful first course to just about any dinner!