Carrot Ginger Soup with Pickled Ginger and Swiss Chard Miso Pesto

Carrot Ginger Soup with Pickled Ginger and Swiss Chard Miso Pesto

Serves 4

  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 lb. of yellow, red, or orange carrots, cut into rounds
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1⁄8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced in rounds
  • Pickled ginger, thinly sliced purple caroots, radishes, turnips, herbs, etc. for garnish
  • 1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 bunch of swiss chard, leaves and stems separated
  • 1 cup of walnuts or almonds pepitas, etc. (most nuts and large seeds work here!)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic (leave skins on)
  • 1 tbsp of miso paste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • 1 tsp of sea salt

Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to remove the thin beige skin from the fresh ginger, and finely grate 3 tsp and set aside. 

Place a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat and add the butter (or olive oil). When melted, add the onion and cook until translucent, but do not let them brown.  Add the garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the carrots and salt to the pot and stir to coat the carrots well with the butter/oil.

Add 2 cups of veggie or chicken stock to the pot. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer. After a minute, check to make sure the stock is still at this gentle simmer (sporadic bubbles popping at the surface). Re-cover and cook until the carrots are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 20 minutes. Uncover and remove from the heat. Let the soup cool to lukewarm.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. 

In a pan over low-medium heat, add some olive oil.  Then, add the swiss chard stems, salt and whole cloves of garlic with skins on.  Sautée for about 5 minutes until stems are softened.  Then, add the leaves and cook for a few more minutes until wilted.    The garlic will also be roasted in their skins.  Discard the garlic skins.

In a separate dry pan, lightly roast the walnuts or almonds.  Remove from the pan and allow to cool.

Add the swiss chard, garlic, walnuts/almonds, and miso paste into a food

processor/blender and pulse.  Gradually add the olive oil, and continue to pulse until you achieve a pesto like paste.    A thin, smooth consistency is best for adding to the soup.     You can add more oil or a little water if the pesto is too thick. 

Finish the soup:

Once the carrots are tender, insert an immersion blender into the pot and puree the soup or transfer to a blender and blend in batches if necessary.   Return the soup to the pot once blended. 

Heat the soup to medium-low heat and gradually whisk in the remaining 4 cups of stock. Stir in the grated ginger. Reheat gently, stirring every now and again, until the soup is hot, about 10 minutes.

Add the pepper, then taste the soup. It should have a deep carrot flavor enhanced by onion and garlic, with a pop of ginger. Add a little more salt or pepper to perk up the flavors if it needs a little more pop.

Serve the soup

Ladle the soup into bowls. With a large spoon swirl some of the pesto in large circular motions.   Swirl in a spoonful of olive oil if you’d like on top of the pesto.   Forming an arc on one side of the bowl, first place thinly sliced radishes or turnips.  Then add some pickled ginger, herbs, scallions, sesame seeds, edible flowers (blue looks so pretty with the orange soup), sesame oil, a drizzle of yogurt, etc!   

Make it your masterpiece and enjoy!

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