I’ve been doing a lot of glut cooking and baking this fall; it’s natural in harvest season to be inundated with a lot of a particular veggie, and so out of necessity a bit of creativity is borne. Or not, and that’s when battle fatigue can set in. Following my recent run on beets (for breakfast and dessert, no less), I’ve been deep into late fall heirloom carrots.
Still starry-eyed about the ease and simplicity of meals based on roasted tomatoes, I thought I’d try the same method with carrots, with the desired end result being a satisfying soup. This method yields a very smoky, earthy sort of soup with a natural sweetness thanks to its blend of carrots, leeks and a few potatoes.
When deadlines loom and spending any lengthy period of time in the kitchen seems impossible, I love a meal that will almost cook itself. I’m always on the hunt for low effort recipes that will result in a healthful and tasty meal, and I expect that I’m not alone in that pursuit. This method isn’t without some preparation, but it is minimal and most of the cooking time takes place during the oven roasting, which requires no attention on the cook’s part. And I do want to be clear that I am sharing a method here, rather than a hard and fast recipe. That’s the beauty of cooking, you can play around with things to suit your own taste, right?
In this instance, I filled a colander with a load of the aforementioned rainbow carrots and gave them a rinse. A quick top and tail, and a slice down the centre for the fatter specimens. To this I added one chopped leek (in rings), and six small potatoes cut into quarters. Most of the additional flavouring for the soup was added at this stage as well in the form of: about 3 tablespoons worth of freshly grated ginger, 3 mashed garlic cloves, salt, pepper, a bit of olive oil. Then it was into a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. (I had two trays.)
Once nicely carmelized in the oven, the veggies and seasonings were tipped into the Cuisinart for a spin.
At this stage I added in about a cup of milk and a similar amount of water, and whirled everything around until I had a still rough but mostly blended puree. This was tipped into a soup pot on the stove over med-low heat.
This is where I ended up tinkering more than I’d like to admit, but I’m here to share as I think I know what I should have done, but I’m also eager to hear if any of you have suggestions. More liquid needed to be added, so another two cups of water went in. Freshly squeezed juice from two lemons also was added, along with a touch more salt and a few more turns from the pepper grinder, and a small handful of chopped parsley from my garden. Something was still missing, so I opted for two tablespoons of tomato paste; in future, I think that softened sun-dried tomatoes would be just the thing to throw in at the blending stage.
It was the dollop of Greek yoghurt flavoured with garlic chives and a bit of lemon (leftover from last night’s supper) added as a garnish that made me realize my mistake. This soup, which doesn’t need a stock base as the roasted vegetables give it so much heft and depth, would have benefited most from the addition of a sharp plain yogurt or sour cream at the point where I chose to add milk. Fresh coriander or thyme would have been my first choice over the flat-leaf parsley that I used too. That’s my plan for next time, anyway.
I am most interested in this as a method, rather than a finished recipe, as it strikes me as a great way to make short work of lunch or supper and it’s best if it can be applied to a fairly wide range of root vegetables, combinations and seasoning options, but with a bit more finesse than a generic vegetable soup. The resulting bowl is full of goodness and easily satisfies on its own, although a hunk of baguette or bread or a few spicy crackers on the side would go very nicely.
Roast Carrot Soup
All amounts are very approximate and those of you that I’ve come to know here will gladly increase, decrease or substitute to suit your own tastes:
4 – 5 cups of heirloom carrots
1 leek, sliced into rounds
6 small potatoes, quartered
3 tbs freshly grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, mashed
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil (just enough to moisten the vegetables for roasting)
1 cup milk (but Greek yogurt or sour cream would be better, I’m quite certain)
3 cups water
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tbs tomato paste (or a small handful of sundried tomatoes)
1/4 cup freshly chopped herbs (parsley, coriander or thyme)
Step 1 – Toss veggies and seasonings with olive oil, spread on roasting pan(s) and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until veggies are soft and tinged with roasted edges
Step 2 – Tip contents of roasting trays into a cuisinart or blend using an immersion blender right in your soup pot
Step 3 – Add milk or yogurt, water and continue to blend
Step 4 – If not already in the soup pot, pour your thick puree into the pot and warm over med-low.
Step 5 – Add more water to thin, along with tomato paste, lemon juice, herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper
Step 6 – Once thoroughly warmed, serve with optional yogurt and herb garnish
I’m fully hoping that some of you will have your own suggestions to make for variations on this theme or modifications that you would have made to the recipe above.
Oh, and if you’re in the mood for carrots as a sidedish, look no further than the Roasted Carrots with Honey & Thyme over at Mama’s Gotta Bake. I’m ready to move onto another dish for my stash of carrots, and I think that’s it!