Is there anyone out there who doesn’t always–and I mean always–have a bag of carrots languishing in the vegetable drawer of their refrigerator? Maybe languishing isn’t the right word because carrots patiently wait to be called into action while other vegetables come and go. But in the end, the carrots always, eventually, get used. Carrots are the backbone of many a sauce, soup or stew–the French mirepoix, a trilogy of carrots, onions and celery. They are cut into batons as the first vegetable almost every child will tolerate. And carrots are ubiquitous on nearly all crudite platters.
When I am in a vegetable bind, as in it’s been a week since I’ve been to the grocery store and need to pull together the evening meal, I turn to carrots. I’ll slice them into coins and sauté with some oil, a dab of butter, a touch of honey and a splash of vinegar. The result, a sweet and sour dish that is the perfect accompaniment to any roasted meat or grilled fish. Or, I’ll cut the carrots into two-inch long spears and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them for 25 minutes or so, until browned and tender. These sweet, intensely flavored carrots go well with just about anything which is why the Roasted Carrot Soup on Food52 caught my attention.
Unlike most carrot soups I’ve made, in this recipe the carrots are roasted rather than simmered to achieve a unique depth of flavor. But with an ingredient list so short and basic, I still wasn’t sure that roasting would be enough to make this soup shine. So I gave it a try and wow, did it deliver! The resulting soup was rich and delicious, satisfying Gary and my adventurous palates, but at the same time was simple enough that our children dug right in.
I encourage you to use that bag of carrots tonight but be sure to replace them tomorrow because there’s comfort in knowing that ole reliable is in your fridge just waiting to be put to use.
- 6 to 8 large carrots (about 1 3/4 pounds)
- 1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
- Kosher salt
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock (good quality, low sodium)
- 1 piece of ginger, an inch long, peeled
- 1 sprig of 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 (I chose the blender for optimal smoothness). 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.