At this time of year of resolution lists, starting fresh and eating right I’d love to tell you a story of how this carrot soup was born of some just made commitment to healthier eating but alas I have no such story. The simple truth is I bought too large a bag of grocery store carrots and needed to do something with them before they went bad. What’s a girl to do when faced with an almost two-pound bag of carrots ( I used only one) taking up valuable storage space in the veggie crisper and every day threatening to go bad? Well being that I live by the rule of before you toss any leftovers or bag of vegetables hanging out in your fridge you make soup or stew I decided to make a carrot soup. I know when you think of vegetables to make a soup with carrots aren’t the first to come to mind. Tomatoes? Yes. Broccoli? Yes. Cauliflower ? Yes. Carrots-not so much. I’ll be the first to admit how surprised I was that this soup came out so good with great flavor and all from very few ingredients.
I’ve performed no miracle here. The carrots do all the work and get their great taste from roasting in a hot oven. If you don’t already know then I’ll tell you that roasting just about any food gives the food extraordinary flavor. Vegetables, especially benefit from time in a hot oven. Roasting does something wonderful to them. It draws out the moisture, concentrates and heightens their natural sugars all while leaving the vegetable ever so tender inside. If you don’t believe me then taste a carrot before you put it in the oven then after they’ve roasted steal one, pop it into your mouth and try to control yourself from devouring the entire pan. After all you are making soup.
I’d never thought of carrots as the star of a soup. For me they always played a supporting role. Carrots are part of the holy trinity of celery, onions and carrots that form the basis of most soups and strews. A flavor base to kind of help the main ingredients get going. It never occurred to me to make it its very own soup. But I make that statement as if I didn’t know carrot soup existed. I did know and have seen plenty of recipes for It. If I had to tell the truth it was because I just didn’t think carrot soup was interesting enough. For me carrots just don’t provide much of an in your face distinctive taste. This is where roasting the carrots come in. Now, there are plenty of carrot soup recipes out there and they add all kinds of flavors curry, Indian spices, Moroccan flavors to name a few. I wanted to do a simple soup that could be thrown together without much thought, all because I didn’t want to waste a bag of carrots. Because this soup has so few ingredients and mostly relies on the carrots roasting is the best way to go to bring out maximum flavor.
Even if my intention was not to do a healthy, good for you recipe because it’s a new year and everyone is starting fresh, this soup will definitely have you feeling good even if you do go and have a bowl of pistachio gelato after you’ve finished your bowl of soup. Happy New Year, Kat
Roasted Carrot Soup, adapted from Food52 Blog
Although I did stay close to basic ingredients when I made this soup, for serving I drizzled over good hazelnut oil and another time added a spoonful of yogurt and sprinkled over toasted pumpkin seeds. Both add a wonderful nuttiness to the roasted soup and help round out the flavors by adding just a touch of fat.
NOTES: While the carrots are roasting prep the other ingredients. Take this opportunity to “see” how to cook. The recipe doesn’t specify how large or small to chop the onions but because of the quick cooking time you know they are not going to be in large chunks. As you roast the carrots and turn them every 5 minutes take notice of their color at each stage. Notice how some of the thinner parts of the carrot I left larger than the other actual 1/2 inch thicker pieces so they could all cook at the same time and none would burn. Also notice the aroma. As the carrots start to cook the aroma gets stronger. Notice too when they go from pleasant smelling to just starting to char too much. All this will stay with you for the next time you make this soup. Also take notes jot down the things you find worked for you or didn’t work. Even write down what you did wrong so you won’t repeat it next time. Writing down notes help me especially when I’m trying a new recipe. Happy cooking!
6 to 8 large carrots (about 1 3/4 pounds)
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups vegetable stock (good quality, not too high in sodium)
1 piece ginger, an inch long, peeled
1 sprig thyme, plus more for garnish
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves,chopped
freshly ground black pepper
Peel and cut the carrots into 1/2-inch rounds. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt. Set an oven rack 6 to 8 inches from the heat source and turn on the broiler. Broil the carrots until they brown and soften, turning them over with a spatula every 5 minutes or so; this should take 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil, add the ginger and the sprig of thyme and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Put the onion in a medium stock pot with the remaining olive oil. Brown the onion over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, and then add the carrots. Remove the ginger and thyme from the stock and add the stock to the pot with the onions and carrots. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the carrots are soft enough to puree. Use an immersion or a standard blender to puree the mixture until smooth. If the soup seems too thick, add more stock or water and reheat gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, garnish with chopped fresh thyme.