Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ginger Carrot Bisque – a perfect transition into fall


As fall approaches mountain towns such as ours begin to decorate with pumpkins, scarecrows and cornstalks and I begin to think of what I call transitional foods. They are the kind of recipes that bridge the gap between the changing of the seasons. In the fall transitional foods are lighter than the recipes we associate with cold days in the winter such as heavy stews or hardy soups, yet they aren’t the light weight summer salads I featured last week either. They fall somewhere in between. In the fall you might call them “before the leaves change” recipes.


One of my favorite transitional foods is bisque. It’s not really a soup or a broth and it’s certainly not a stew – it’s somewhere in between, just like the first few weeks when summer draws to an end and fall begins. My friend Christo from Chez What refers to bisque as soup’s royal cousin.

Some of my favorite recipes for bisque use pumpkin, which is certainly a fall favorite. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might remember my Pumpkin Bisque, which I served in demitasse cups as a classy appetizer for a dinner party. All gussied up and served in fine bone china demitasse cups the pumpkin bisque did look rather royal. Guests are quite surprised when they are served bisque (or soup) to sip from a demitasse cup. I always get “oohs and ahs” when I pass it on a silver platter. Give it a try sometime – you’ll be pleasantly pleased and so will your guests.


If you can find organic carrots with their green tops attached for this bisque, they are so much fresher and tastier than the bagged variety. Don’t bother too much with perfect chopping of the vegetables – they get pureed in the end, so don’t waste time on something that doesn’t show. But at the same time, you don’t want some pieces large and some small because they won’t brown well or cook evenly. Serve as a first course or snazzy appetizer.

Ginger Carrot Bisque
Adapted from Barefoot Kitchen Witch & The Herb Companion
Serves 4 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 ½ pounds carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of peeled and finely chopped fresh gingerroot
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
3 ¼ cups chicken stock
¾ cup dry white wine
¼ cup half and half or cream (optional)
Finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

Melt the butter in a large stock pot. Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about five minutes. The carrots do not have to be completely cooked. Season with the salt and pepper, then add the garlic and ginger and sauté a minute or so, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Add the cumin, coriander and orange peel and stir for a minute or two more.

Add the chicken stock and wine, cover and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, reduce heat to simmer and cook until the carrots are soft, about 10 – 20 minutes, depending on the size of the carrot pieces. When the carrots are soft, transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree in batches until smooth. Return to the stock pot and, if desired, add the half and half or cream and stir well. Reheat over low until the bisque is hot. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.  Garnish with chopped parsley and serve right away.

49 comments:

  1. A beautiful transition! That bisque looks delicious and comforting. Fall is already here indeed...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. I like the idea of transitional food Sam. That makes me a tranbsitional person, with one foot in summer and one in fall..but I need to move south for the winter:D

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  3. carrot and ginger are as perfect as Sam and Meakin - LOL - seriously this is one good looking and one great sounding bisque.

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  4. Hi Sam - this soup looks fantastic! I am such a fan of carrot soups, and the addition of ginger gives such a nice bite. This makes me want to cook up a pot and welcome autumn. I've got some folks coming over soon, and I'm going to use your appetizer idea. Happy Autumn!

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  5. The bisque looks so perfectly smooth and creamy! I love the ginger addition here!

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  6. That sounds delightful! I went back to your pumpkin bisque post and that sounds wonderful too! I love soup in the fall and winter. Such comfort.
    Hugs,
    Penny

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  7. Love this post! and that recipe must taste wonderful. I do love bisque; I don't make it often enough; thank you for inspiring me.
    Rita

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  8. I've been cooking "transitionally" all week. Will steal the idea of bisque in demi tasse cups! And yes, I am loving the spices with this and will pick up some carrots at Farmers Market this week to give it a whirl. It's too pretty and fresh. How can I not do it?

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  9. Oh yum! This is going on the list for when we return to Florida.

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  10. I am not sure if autumn starts today or tomorrow but I like the idea of “transitional food.” The Ginger Carrot Bisque sounds delicious and I’ll copy it right now. I bought some ginger yesterday at Harry’s Farmers’ Market and shall get some good carrots presently. Thanks for the recipe.

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  11. Fall is here already! Wow, time just flies! Means Halloween getting near soon. What a great festival to celebrate and more pumpkin recipes coming up after this. Btw, your carrot bidque looks so attractive & comforting! Thanks again. Have a great day.
    Kristy

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  12. I have never made a bisque. This is something that I have to try!

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  13. This bisque is the perfect transitional recipe Sam! Plus, the color matches the changing leaves. Very pretty!

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  14. Sam, this is a winner and those little crusty breads are just the perfect combination!!

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  15. wow great soup adore the spices and use of orange peel in this add I add to the Fl citrus growers blog and link to you?

    Rebecca

    rebeccasubbiah at yahoo dot com

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  16. Wow, Sam. Your picture looks so enticing. We really do eat with our eyes first. Great recipe.

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  17. I bet your kitchen smelled wonderful. I think I have most of the ingredients to make this. Thanks for the recipe.

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  18. The bisque looks delicious. Gives me a warm feeling inside! Thanks for sharing!

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  19. This looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing. Angie

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  20. Sam, this is perfect as the weather turns...yum.

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  21. I've never made carrot soup. Yours looks lovely and I like the spices you used.

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  22. Everyone is making soup this fall!
    I guess I had better stop thinking summer and get into it!

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  23. Excellent! I had a carrot ginger soup years ago and never got around to attempting to duplicate it. This sounds just right!

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  24. This soup looks like the perfect way to transition into fall! Ginger and carrot are so lovely together. By the way, that soup bowl is adorable!

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  25. Lovely bisque, such an appealing color and I love the addition of ginger, perfect with carrots:)

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  26. I love your bright attitude about "transitional" recipes. I have such a bad attitude with the summer/autumn transition. I enjoy hearing someone who has a positive outlook on it. I'm visiting my farmer's market this morning (one of the last of the year), so I'll try not to look at the fall vegetables with disdain, but instead try and think of some transitional recipes. Thanks for the attitude adjustment!

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  27. You are so right, what a beautiful transition indeed!

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  28. What a lovely recipe, Sam. I particularly like the spice "package" you've used to make your soup. The use of orange peel is close to inspired. It looks delightful and delicious. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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  29. Ginger and carrot along with orange make a wonderful trifecta.

    Great job with the bisque.

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  30. Popped in from Barbara's! That looks perfect for fall!

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  31. Yep, this looks simple to make, super fresh and delicious. This is one I think I'll try. Even tho our weather is still in the 90s. yikes..

    And it's true. Your blog is fabulous! Keri

    www.samwich365.com

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  32. Happy autumn Sam! I love bisque and the flavors in this recipe sounds so good. Your presentation is so beautiful!

    PS You would love the wine country. There are so many good restaurants in the town of of Yountville in the Napa Valley that it was hard to chose just one to dine in. I'll be showing chef Michael Chiarello's "Bottega" next post.

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  33. Hello Sam, I just found your blog via Schnitzel and the Trout, and I love it! I'll be making that bisque this weekend! I've recently started blogging this past summer, if you have a moment and would like to "visit" New England pop on over, it's so exciting to get new Followers! I enjoyed my visit today!

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  34. I love the word "transitional food" I never thought of foods that we begin to enjoy while moving into the next season. I will remember that concept. Your bisque is a perfect transition from summer to autumn. Very nice.

    I am so ready for some autumn temperatures. I am looking forward to opening up the windows!

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  35. Here's my favourite looking bowl again...I'm on the lookout to get me some.

    Love the bisque...especially with the zing of ginger and orange fragrance too.

    Happy transition into a fabulous Fall season.

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  36. Sam, you have a winner here! I love the combo of carrots and ginger. You've upped the flavors with cumin and coriander too.
    I've served cold soups in little glass cups but never thought hot soups like a bisque. Definitely going to try that.
    I adore your presentation in those lovely glass bowls!

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  37. Hi Sam, I love the classic never to fail me combo of ginger & carrots,..this is certainly a real comforting & good for you soup!

    MMMMMM,...I love it! It is beautifully presented too!

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  38. This looks wonderful! Very warming and perfect for fall. I love the orange zest in there too - I'll have to try that!

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  39. Definitely a beautiful welcome to fall! It's gorgeous and it sounds so packed with flavor. I definitely want to make a pumpkin bisque this season =)

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  40. Good morning Sam, I really enjoyed your article and you've inspired me to make another bisque which I haven't done so in a while. Bisque gets it's origin from France and Spain for that matter ( hence Bay of Biscay ) and I read somewhere that it used to be made with pidgeon in the seventeenth century would you believe? After that, they used crayfish and other sea creatures. A very amusing history but I think your vegetarian recipe is my preference over pidgeon!! Have a great day, Therese

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  41. Sam,
    Great transition! The ginger carrot bisque looks so good. I love your photos.

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  42. Hi Sam
    That soup looks lik ethe perfect meal on a cool fall day. I'm beginning to wonder if fall weather is ever going to come! Maybe it's come to the mountains but here in Charlotte it's still too hot!

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  43. I've always loved how well carrots, ginger and coriander go together. This looks like a very pleasant tasting bisque, rich in flavors and body.

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  44. Sounds delish--I am a huge fan of ginger. I must make this!

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  45. I love the "before the leaves change" concept.

    My favorite summer bisque is artichoke bisque but I have got to try this one, it is perfect for fall transitions!

    That shot of the bisque is awesome, taken with your 50mm?

    I love the Autumn yard displays here in East TN. It is so unique to the region.

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  46. This looks delicious and needs to be on our table today. The temperature is hovering around 50 degrees and the sun isn't shining. The cumin sounds like it would put this over the top and I'm looking forward to a bowl with a side of cornbread.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  47. Wish I could be experiencing some of your gorgeous fall weather here. It's 111 in Hollywood today. Bisque looks delicious!

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  48. Demitasse cups filled with bisque started dancing in my head as soon as I started reading your post! Fragrance in the air, am i dreaming?

    Thank you for the post about the Cherokee Indians. One of my fondest memories of visiting the Cherokee reservation is of walking through the tall woods on a warm golden October day and approaching a clearing in the woods where an Indian flower and vegetable garden had been planted. Magic memories!

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I enjoy reading each and every comment. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam