Specialty of the House: Carrot Ginger Soup

February 22, 2014 

Carrot Ginger Soup from Iris restaurant at the N.C. Museum of Art.

JULI LEONARD — jleonard@newsobserver.com

A few months back I had dinner at the N.C. Museum of Art’s restaurant, Iris, and they served a wonderful carrot ginger soup. Do you think they would share?

Leslie Murray

Raleigh

Iris’ longtime chef Andy Hicks was happy to share the recipe.

Hicks has a longstanding relationship with the N.C. Museum of Art. For six years in the 1990s, he ran the museum’s restaurant for a third party contractor. In 2000, the museum hired Hicks and his wife, Jennifer, to open Iris. (Jennifer is a pastry chef and the restaurant’s special events designer.) Previously, Hicks, 53, worked as a sous chef for chef Bill Smith, now of Crook’s Corner, when Smith was working at La Residence in Chapel Hill.

Hicks believes the original recipe for this carrot ginger soup came from Smith and remembers making a version at La Residence. But he added that the soup recipe has morphed over the years. While it isn’t a fixture on the menu, it is in heavy rotation among the soup specials.

“This one is a customer favorite, so it makes an appearance with a fair amount of frequency compared to all the other soups we do,” Hicks wrote in an email. “At times during the year, the carrots we get will be higher quality and sweeter; we’ll lean towards that soup more often then.”

Carrot Ginger Soup

Our recipe tester used a microplaner to grate the ginger instead of mincing. This soup makes enough to feed a crowd; so consider cutting the recipe in half for 2-4 people. From chef Andy Hicks of Iris restaurant at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh.

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium sweet yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

4 cups pulp-free orange juice

5 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup coconut milk

2 pounds carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 cup heavy cream

3 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

MELT butter over medium-low heat in a large stainless steel stockpot or large Dutch oven. Add onions and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add orange juice, vegetable stock, coconut milk and carrots and continue to cook soup until the carrots are tender.

TRANSFER soup in batches to a food processor or blender. Puree soup until thick and creamy, letting each batch be pureed for 2-3 minutes. Transfer pureed soup to a bowl in batches. Once all the soup is pureed, transfer it to the stock pot. Over low heat, stir in heavy cream and add salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve with toasted crusty bread.

Yield: 6-8 servings.

Specialty of the House gets recipes for local restaurant dishes. Send requests, including your city, to Specialty of the House, The N&O, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602; or email aweigl@newsobserver.com.

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