Carrots are always heaped on tables at the farmers market, but when overwintered carrots appear in April, I renew my enthusiasm for this versatile root vegetable. In the same way that overwintered parsnips gain an additional layer of sweetness after exposure to frost and chilly temperatures, carrots also become ladened with sweetness when grown in colder temperatures.
I bought three bunches of brilliantly hued orange carrots from Groundworks Organics on Saturday with one recipe in mind: a simple soup. I normally make soups with the idea of enhancing them, either by adding a sprinkling of cumin or coriander, or slowly caramelizing onions as the base layer (or using carrots as part of the mirepoix, not as the main event).
But this carrot soup is only about the carrots: minimal seasoning (scant amounts of sugar, salt and pepper, and one sprig of thyme), water instead of stock, and nary a bay leaf in sight. On paper, this soup reads as extremely boring, but with these sweet carrots, it’s anything but. The point isn’t to mask or even enhance the carrot flavor; it’s to focus solely on their sweet earthy taste and push any distractions aside.
A Simple Carrot Soup
Recipe Source: Adapted from Vegetable Literacy
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced thinly
- 1 lb carrots, scrubbed and sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon raw white rice
- 1 thyme sprig
- 4 cups water
- a few tablespoons of diced carrots and carrot tops
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a pot and add the onions, carrots, rice, 1 teaspoon salt, and sugar, and thyme. Cook over medium for a few minutes. Add 1 cup of the water, cover, turn down the heat, and cook while you heat up the remaining 3 cups water (I chose to do this in an electric kettle; you can also do this on the stovetop). When the water is hot, add it to the pot, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender (20 minutes or so).
- While the soup is cooking, dice the carrots and tops.
- When ready, remove the thyme sprig and blend with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender. Puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper as needed.
- Reheat the soup with the added diced carrots and tops added.
- Once reheated, ladle into bowls and serve. Enjoy!