Roasted Carrot Soup

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Last week I received a big, beautiful bunch of carrots in my CSA box and I hadn’t the slightest idea what I wanted to do with them.  When I say “big, beautiful” I don’t mean they were just a gorgeous bright orange, which they were, but they had giant green tops on them that were three times the size of the carrots themselves.  I’d never seen carrots like this!  It makes you realize how artificially manicured the carrots are in the supermarket and that we should probably think just a little bit harder about where your food comes from.  Do you want something that came straight from the ground, grown by a farmer who cares about his crops or something that was spit out from a machine?

That all said, I hadn’t the slightest idea what to do with this bunch of carrots.  It took a week and then some, but I finally realized exactly what I wanted: despite it still being a hot summer here in Beachtown, CA, I wanted Roasted Carrot Soup.  Roasting brings out the sweetness in carrots and even the sweetness in the onions in the soup, too (if you know me, I hate onions but loved them in this soup; a testament to the great recipe).  I was surprised at the lack of spices in this soup, save for the standard salt and pepper plus a little garlic and bay leaf.  Roasting the vegetables absolutely gives all the complex, nutty, spicy flavor the soup might need without all the extra spices.

I think the best testimony, however, comes from the boyfriend eating the soup, who had been rather blase about my making it: “I knew it would be okay, but I didn’t know it would be THIS good!” So make it now while the carrots are fresh and local or save this recipe for the Fall when you need to warm up over something hearty.

Note: I tried using my food processor to slice the carrots, but it was an experiment gone wrong.  Wish I had used my mandolin slicer instead!

Roasted Carrot Soup
Makes 3-4 bowls of soup
Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated, Nov 2007

  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots (about 8 medium), peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • Ground black pepper
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the carrots, onion on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast until the vegetables are well browned and softened, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer the roasted vegetables to a large saucepan. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, cover, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the carrots soften further, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and bay leaf; cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the broths. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the soup is flavorful, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the bay leaf and puree the mixture in a blender until smooth (I have a stick blender that I swear by).  Add the half-and-half and warm over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste (although mine did not need any salt whatsoever, just the pepper).  I sprinkled a little bit of thyme over my bowl of leftover soup, but it’s good with or without it!


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