We just went through several days of nearly continuous rain, making it chilly and damp. What’s the best thing to eat to take away the chill? Soup, of course. It just has that warm, comforting feel, and we have no trouble making an entire meal out of something like soup and bread (this time, we made rosemary and Parmesan focaccia to go along). So, soup it is.
We decided to go with a simple carrot soup, partly because it would be different, and partly to make a smooth, blended soup with our recently-acquired blender. The cumin was somewhat of an afterthought, and, in the original version, we added just a bit too much — we’ve cut back on the cumin in the recipe below.
This recipe really doesn’t come from anywhere, other than the thought of making soup from what we had in the refrigerator, but we still think you’ll like it.
We always make our own vegetable stock, and suggest that you at least try to do the same from time to time. What we do is simple. We save up those pieces of vegetables that we wouldn’t normally eat: carrot peels, onion skin, tough stems from greens, etc., and, once a week, we simmer them with water for 45 minutes, strain, and we have broth. Simple and it makes a good stock. The lemon juice is here to add some acid to help bring out flavor. You won’t taste it in the soup, but you will notice that the soup has a brighter flavor. You can use a wine vinegar in place of the lemon juice.
Procedure in detail:
Peel and chop carrots. Wash the carrots well, then peel. We save the peels for the next batch of vegetable stock. Cut into chunks that you know your blender will be able to process. They might only be 1/2 inch coins and you don’t have to make them neat, since we’ll blend it all up later.
Simmer. Place the carrots, stock and cumin in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer, uncovered, until carrots are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.
Purée. Unless you’ve made a larger batch of soup, all of this should fit into your blender. Remember that when you blend hot liquids it can cause the top of the blender to pop off, spewing hot liquid everywhere, so be careful. We’ve read that it helps to vent the lid just a bit, and cover with a clean dishtowel to contain splatters. Work the blender all the way up to the highest setting and blend until very smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Return the soup to the saucepan.
Season. If needed, bring the soup back to a simmer. Add the salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. You know what you like.
Serve. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with the herb-infused oil, if using. Serve immediately.
We originally had twice the cumin listed above and that gave our soup a somewhat bitter aftertaste. The addition of the salt helped, but it was still present, ever so slightly, which detracted just a bit in terms of enjoyment. We loved the nice, creamy, smooth texture — it was almost like having a cream soup without the cream — and the bright orange color, especially since we added the contrasting dill-infused oil as an accent. This soup is remarkably simple; the only downside we can see is that you have to wash out a blender, but perhaps you have one of those immersion blenders, making that simple, too. Because of the additional cleanup, four stars.