This winter there's not enough soup in the world. Tonight it was carrot soup.
Carrot soup, and its first cousin butternut squash soup, are insanely delicious and stupid simple to make. The formula adapts easily to any other vegetable that would make a pureed soup.
The formula is:
- 2 potatoes (3 if small)
- 2 onions (3 if small)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic (more or less according to your taste, I like more, I will use 5)
- Chicken broth
- Vegetable of choice. In this case you use 2 bags of frozen baby carrots. I could've sworn I had two in the freezer but I only had one, so I am supplementing with fresh carrots.
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks OR 2 packages of pre-peeled, pre-seeded, and pre-cut butternut squash that are readily available at any grocery store.
- 2 pounds frozen or fresh broccoli
- 2 pounds parsnips
- 2 pounds asparagus
- You get the idea.
I use Madame le Creuset for this soup, but any soup pot will do. Put it on medium-heat and splash some olive oil and a pat of butter in the bottom.
Peel and quarter the onions and toss them in, saute 4 minutes until they soften and start to come apart.
Peel and cut the potatoes into rough 2-inch chunks, toss them in, stir.
Competently smash the garlic cloves under the flat blade of your knife, peel the skins away and toss the cloves into the pot whole. (Hmm... This sounds vaguely familiar. You might want to have a handsome man, suffused with hunger and weariness, watching you at this point to get the full effect.)
Add the frozen carrots (and in this case, the supplemental fresh ones, peeled and chunked). Stir another few minutes and then add chicken broth to barely cover, I estimate about half of a 32-oz box. Cover Madame, turn the heat to low, and go rinse the Feria out of your hair.
(What, I didn't mention I was coloring my hair tonight? My bad. It was long overdue, and getting back to my roots in a way that wasn't pretty at all.)
So the goal here is soft mushiness which will take about 20 minutes at a lower simmer. If you can break the carrots with the edge of a wooden spoon, you're done. Turn off the heat and carefully dump veggies and broth into a bowl.
In batches, puree them in the blender or food processor and scrape back into Madame. My seester gave me a gorgeous Viking immersion blender for Christmas and if this were a more country-style soup I would have used it, but I like this soup ultra-smooth and so the Cuisinart is really the way to go.
Once back in the pot, add more chicken broth until it is the consistency you want. You could do only broth or add some buttermilk or regular milk or even cream if you are so inclined. I then like to sprinkle a nice amount of paprika which boosts the flavor and intensifies the orange color. When serving, I like to put out sour cream or plain yogurt to dollop on top, and then chopped chives or dill to sprinkle. Sometimes I like to sprinkle caraway seeds on mine.
This soup freezes beautifully for another day. You can make it in the morning, chill, and reheat it later. You can push it to the back burner and forget it while you make something yummy to go on the side. Like...um...oh, I don't know, how about BROCCOLI BITES!?!
I know!!! I found these on Stacey Snacks and lost my mind. They are simple to make and totally delicious on the side of a pureed vegetable soup. So here is the money shot: