simply divine carrot soup

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Simply Divine Carrot Soup is simple, and divine. Carrots, onions, garlic, a splash of white wine, broth, salt and pepper, and heavy cream combine into a silky smooth soup that lets the carrots shine. 

Did you like that little rhyme?  

This recipe originates from page 42 of an unknown Entertainment issue of the Cooks Illustrated magazine. Unknown, because I saved a snapshot of the recipe that didn’t include the issue’s month, and my stack of food magazines is in one of the ten unpacked boxes of books in the basement. 

I’ve made a number of different carrot soups over the years, but this one came as a revelation to me. A cream of “x” soup that omitted the roux so often employed, that was deeply flavored yet delicately so, rich and creamy, yet not heavy. 

The geniuses in the kitchen over at Cooks Illustrated discovered that tossing the carrots and onions with a minimal amount of oil and a sprinkling of salt, then roasting them at high heat until soft and caramelized, yielded a concentrated carrot flavor that is out of this world. No need, if you will, to muddy the flavor with flour and butter. 

Scraped into a pot, quickly sautéed with minced garlic, deglazed with white wine (a necessary step here for the flavor to reach divine), simmered in broth and then puréed, the carrots are transformed into a soup you can’t spoon up fast enough. Trust me—or actually, don’t. Make it yourself and you’ll see...

 served here with fresh artisan bread, TJ’s chipotle toscano cheese, and garnished with the edible carrot tops. 

served here with fresh artisan bread, TJ’s chipotle toscano cheese, and garnished with the edible carrot tops. 

simply divine carrot soup

serves 4-6  

Ingredients:  

  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 medium onion, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices

  • 2 teaspoons oil (olive or vegetable)

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

  • bay leaf (optional)

  • 3 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, or a combination of the two)

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half)

  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss together carrots, onions, 1 teaspoon of oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread out in an even layer on a cookie sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until soft and well roasted (with lovely dark brown charred edges), about 30 minutes.

  • Remove pan from oven and scrape carrots and onion into a large pot. Stir in 1 teaspoon oil. Cover pot and set over medium low heat, letting carrots soften further, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

  • Remove lid, toss in garlic, and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine (and optional bay leaf) and cook until liquid is reduced by half, making sure to scrape up any brown bits stuck on the bottom. Stir in broth, Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes (to let the flavors develop). Remove bay leaf if using.

  • Puree soup. This is done easily with an immersion blender (an invaluable kitchen appliance if you make soup often!). Alternatively, use a blender or food processor, being sure to work in small (half or third) batches at low speeds (to prevent orange streaks on the ceiling!!).

  • Wipe the pot clean to remove any stray chunks. Pour puréed soup into pot, set over low heat, stir in cream, and heat through, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated.