Thursday, 13 March 2008

Carrot Soup with Three Variations

This started out as a recipe from Epicurious, but of course I have meddled. I can never remember to put in the allspice, and I don't think it needs milk; I just use a slightly heavier hand with the beans, which make an excellent thickener. The basic recipe is rather plain in flavour, but I have come up with some variations to make it more interesting. The texture, the colour and the ease of making this are all lovely.

Basic Carrot Soup:
1 litre chicken stock
1 large onion
5 large carrots
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large bay leaf
1 cup cooked white pea (navy) beans
salt and pepper to taste

Put the chicken stock in a large soup pot, and add the onion, peeled and coarsely chopped and the carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped. Add the thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer until the carrots are tender; about 15 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf and add the beans. Purée the soup in a blender until very smooth. It can be served as-is or improved with one of the following embellishments:

Maple-Ginger Carrot Soup:
1 recipe carrot soup
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Reheat the soup with the addition of the maple syrup and ginger. Before serving it, taste and adjust the quantities if you feel it necessary. Bear in mind however, that both the maple and ginger flavours will develop more strongly as the soup sits; the ginger in particular.

Curried Apple and Carrot Soup
Curried Apple Carrot Soup:

1 recipe carrot soup
1 large apple
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon curry powder
sprinkle of minced chives, fresh or dried

Put the soup on to heat up. Wash the apple, core it, and cut it into fairly small dice. Sauté it in the butter until softened and very lightly browned in spots. Mix in the curry and chives. When the curry is well mixed in and coats the apple, add the curried apple to the soup. Serve once it has heated through.

Carrot Soup with Bacon and Shallots
Carrot Soup with Bacon & Shallots:
1 recipe carrot soup
4 or 5 shallots
3 tablespoons bacon fat
250 grams (1/2 pound) sliced bacon
1/2 teaspoon celery seed, ground

Heat the soup over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

Peel and slice the shallots as thin as possible. Cook them in a heavy skillet with the bacon fat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown.

Meanwhile, chop the bacon finely and cook it until crispy in another skillet. Blot the bacon bits on paper towel, and add them to the soup with the ground celery seed. When the the shallots are golden brown, blot them on the paper towel as well and add them to the soup. Serve hot.


Terry B said...

Beautiful photographs--and great variations on the basic theme. I'm a big fan of bacon in just about anything, so the last one really caught my eye. And I think the savory saltiness of the bacon would be a good foil to the sweetness of the carrots.

I do have one question, though, particularly in light of the amounts of all the other herbs in the variations: Does a quarter-teaspoon of thyme in the basic recipe actually do anything to the flavor? My own instinct would be that at least a half-teaspoon would be needed to bring much to the party. Of course, I've not made this--you have. Which is why I'm asking. Thanks!

Ferdzy said...

Thanks for your kind comments!

The original recipe did call for more thyme. It may be that I am particularly sensitive to the flavour, because I found it too strong. It may also be that the thyme I have is particularly strong.

You might want to put in my amount, taste it after a few minutes and adjust it if necessary.

I type up my recipes listing what I do, but no-one should ever worry about adjusting them - taste is a personal thing, and you're the one who is going to eat it, not me.

Peter M said...

Ferdzy, the trip of soups are all fantastic!

Kevin said...

As I kept scrolling down I kept thinking: that sounds good, I will have to try it. Three really interesting and tasty sounding carrot soups!

S.T.S. said...

Yum My hubby loved this! I had to make a variation cause he's a diabetic but half a head of cauliflower was well hidden in the sweetness of the carrots, and lower carb too.