Carrot-Ginger Soup with Pumpernickel Croutons

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1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 medium leek, white and light-green parts, thinly sliced
coarse sea salt
freshly ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground caraway
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup grated ginger
1 Gala or Fuji apple, peeled, cored, and quartered
4 cups chicken stock
sherry vinegar
chopped chives, for garnish
pumpernickel croutons, recipe follows

Heat butter and oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic, shallot, and leek. Cook until translucent and soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add spices and toast for 1 minute. Add carrots, celery, ginger, apple, and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.

Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until silky smooth. Return soup to pot and reheat. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with oil and vinegar, garnish with chives, and top with croutons. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Pumpernickel Croutons

4 slices day old pumpernickel bread, cubed
olive oil
coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the bread cubes with a drizzle of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt. Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.


--Recipe courtesy of Joseph Erdos



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