I love December: counting each day, green wreaths, red ribbons, white lights, thinking about what loved ones would like most, long nights, tulle ribbon, bright paper, coffee in mugs, tea in mugs. Mugs. For beer? Mulled wine? Eggnog? Hot toddies? Hot chocolate with marshmallows. Mugs are a vehicle for joy—liquid joy.
At our last Thanksgiving stop, despite a full day of bubbly, cheese, crackers, and olives (not a bad day by any standards), I was ready for the main event. Turkey, sides, let’s do this. Then came a surprise: a tray of mugs. Hot chocolate, I wondered. But as I leaned in to take my offering, I found I was wrong. The mugs were full of spicy, sweet carrot soup. I rolled with it, settling back into the couch and cupping the steaming treat in my hands. Oh, the warmth! The spice! Ginger and black pepper. Soup in mugs is my new hobby. And I’m super into it.
Pull up a blanket, the sun is probably down, soup’s on. It’s mug-holding season, and I’m not going to miss any opportunity for hot porcelain to hand contact.
1 medium onion
2 garlic clove
1 pound of carrots
Sauté an onion and two garlic cloves in the bottom of a Dutch oven with some oil. Add a pound of peeled, chopped carrots and 4 cups of water. Let simmer for at least an hour, until the carrots are totally tender.
Add the zest of an orange, about a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger, a few grinds of black pepper, and the juice of the orange. If you are a poor, stricken soul without an immersion blender, as I am, transfer the soup carefully to a regular blender, purée, and move back to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, and thin with more water as needed.