Carrot Cardamom Soup is one you want to add to your cooking arsenal. It’s perfect to make when you have a crowd to feed, or want extra to freeze.
I’ve made this several times, and each time has been slightly different: that’s how developing recipes work for me. It’s a spiral of dreams, intuitions, and an almost taste on the tongue. And I finally remembered to write the recipe down.
Carrot Cardamom Soup was inspired by two different recipes. First, there is a carrot and sweet potato soup that is in the Budget Bytes cookbook that I loved. And then a friend showed me how to make an Indian dish a year or so ago that starts with these flavors. When these two combined into one soup, the flavors shined.
First there are the aromatic spices: cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon powder, allspice, and ginger powder. I think the picture above even shows some cardamom powder; it’s been so long since I took that photo, I’m really not sure. But if you love the flavor of cardamom like me, why not?
Regardless, the seeds and sticks simmer in oil until sizzling. You wait until the cinnamon sticks start to unfurl, then add the onion and remaining spices.
Your kitchen will smell fabulous.
From there it’s a simple simmering of carrot and sweet potato in broth of your choice. If you want to make this vegetarian, use a veggie broth. It works fine with chicken broth, too.
Once the veggies are tender, you grab your stick blender and puree. And if you don’t have a stick blender, serious, go get yourself one now.
The link leads you to the Kitchen Aid stick blender I have used for a few years now. I couldn’t live without mine. Or, at least, I couldn’t make smooth soups without.
Then, to up the level of ginger even more, I add frozen ginger concentrate and Vernor’s Ginger Ale. These both require explanation.
There is no real substitute for the frozen ginger concentrate, though I freshly grated ginger might do. The concentrate is something I make from fresh ginger root. The root is chopped (not peeled, just chopped) and placed in a pan. Covered with water. Boiled, then simmered for an indeterminate length of time – I never time it. Do watch the color of the water; it will become a lovely amber. Once the burner is turned off, I often let the pot sit, covered, overnight or longer as the water only continues to become more infused with ginger.
I like freezing the concentrate in ice cube trays for long-term storage. Typical use is for hot ginger tea during the winter or whenever my tummy and/or digestive system is upset. I place 3-4 cubes in a microwave safe cup, cover with water, and nuke until toasty warm; it usually has a serious ginger bite so dilute with more water as desired.
And without a doubt, there is no substitute for Vernor’s Ginger Ale. Let’s put it this way: I grew up in Michigan. I lived away from the state for many years. I actually lived in down south where you can’t get Vernor’s.
Virtually every visit to Michigan, I would take a case or two of Vernor’s back to my home in those southern states.
So nope, no *true* substitute for Vernor’s.
(Your mileage may vary, try another ginger ale. A truly gingery ginger ale, though, not some pale substitute.)
Even with this ginger added, it may not have enough heat to satisfy those of you with love for heat in food. As I’m not in that group, this is perfect. Carrot Cardamom Soup has flavor, a little heat, and a lot of intrigue. Add some salt and pepper to taste, and you’ve got dinner. You’ve also got plenty of share for a potluck or freeze for the future.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups onions, chopped
- 2 teaspoons cardamom seeds
- 2-4 sticks cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon ginger, powdered
- 2 lb carrot, chopped
- 3 lb sweet potato, chopped
- 10 cups broth of your choice
- 8-10 cubes frozen ginger concentrate
- 1 16oz can Vernor's Ginger Ale
- Use your largest stock pot - this makes a lot!
- Place olive oil in pot and wait until it is sizzling hot. Add cardamom seeds and cinnamon sticks, and saute until cinnamon sticks open.
- Add 2 t cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and onion. Saute until onion is translucent.
- Add carrot, sweet potato, and enough broth to cover. This will be 8-10 cups. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer until carrot and sweet potato are easily pierced with a fork.
- Puree. Add in frozen ginger ale concentrate and Vernor's. Stir to incorporate. Taste, adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, more ginger as desired.