make carrot soup at least a half dozen times each year. Its one of those things I do without thinking. It was one of the first soups I ever learned to make and it was one of the first dishes I ever started experimenting with liberally with in my effort to 'play chef'. I just never seem to get tired of it probably because I never seem to make it the same twice. Carrot soup takes to just about any seasoning imaginable. Dill, curry, ginger, thyme, herbes de Provence, whatever. My dear friend Michael prefers his carrot soup with parsnips and coriander and he makes it so well it has become something of a trademark for him. (At least its his cooking trademark. He has other trademarks as well...to be sure.) Recently I got to thinking about why I was spending so much time figuring out new and exciting spice combos for even more batches of carrot soup. So I asked myself don't carrots taste good on their own?
It sounds obvious now but I never thought to roast them first until now. I should have. As a side dish I prefer just about every other veggie roasted. Asparagus, cauliflower, even broccoli tastes better to me after a quick roast in a 500 degree oven a la Barbara Kafka. If you are ever in the mood for a quick carrot soup that actually tastes like carrots, try this. No extra spices needed....although next time I might slip in a little tarragon, my favorite herb!
Roasted Carrot Soup
- 2 lbs Carrots, peeled and sliced into pieces
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- 4 small cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup chardonnay
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup milk or soy milk (1/2 and 1/2 will work too.)
- ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss carrots and onion with oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Put in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the middle of the oven until carrots are browned and softened. 25-30 minutes. Transfer roasted veggies to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until carrots soften further and dry out a bit. 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until garlic releases flavors. Add wine, bay leaf. When wine reduces by half (this will be quick) add in broth and bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Puree in a blender or use immersion blender until smooth. add in milk or half-and-half and then correct seasons to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with sour cream and chives.