My nose is red and my paws are frosty these days. If only it were possible to have the kettle whistling by the time I walked in the door, so that I could instantly hold a piping hot mug of chai after weathering the cold. Until someone invents that kettle, there’s frozen soup. There’re few things easier than popping a soup-filled ziploc out of the freezer and nuking your dinner on a cold winter night. Start to finish, it only takes 4 minutes, and the results are just as good, if not better, than freshly made soup. The ingredients have had time to mingle with each other a bit more, so frozen soups often taste flavor-saturated than their fresh siblings. Top the soup with some homemade croutons and you’re good to go!
Carrot soup is one of the simplest and lowest-maintenance options for wintertime. Once all the ingredients have landed in the pot, simply cover and hang out by the fire for an hour or two. Then throw it all in the food processor, et voila!
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup minced onion or shallot
- 3 Tbsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. salt (if using water; if using chicken stock or broth, no salt is needed)
- 3-4 cups (or more) chicken stock, chicken broth, or water, as needed
- 4 cups sliced peeled carrots (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 cup or so orange juice
- pinch brown sugar or a couple tsp. maple syrup, if needed
- Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion or shallot, ginger, salt, and spices, and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add carrots, and toss to coat with onion mixture.
- Add 3 cups liquid, or enough that liquid covers carrots by about 1 inch. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. Add orange juice, and cook a few minutes longer. If needed, add sugar or syrup to sweeten.
- Transfer in batches to the food processor and puree. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Transfer pot to fridge and chill; if desired, when soup is just warm, transfer to ziplocs and freeze in 1-serving portions. Be sure to eliminate all air from the bag before closing.
- leftover bread; I used homemade no-knead bread with whole wheat flour and raisins.
- pam or olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice bread, and cut slices into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Lay out cubes in a shallow baking sheet, in a single layer.
- Spray with pam or drizzle with oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 300 and bake another ten minutes, until crisp.
- Allow to cool completely before storing in bags or jars.