Alice Waters’s carrot soup

A creamy, cream-less, richly satisfying yet indisputably healthful soup. A boldly simple and surprisingly delectable recipe from Alice Waters’s brilliant The Art of Simple Food.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 sprig thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced (about 6 cups)
  • Salt
  • 6 cups chicken broth

Directions

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter. Add onions and thyme and cook over medium-low heat until soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, season with salt and cook for five minutes.
  3. Add broth. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Season to taste with salt and puree if desired. It’s easiest to use an immersion blender with hot liquids, though you may need a real blender to achieve a truly velvety texture. Safety alert: If using a blender with hot soup, be careful to blend in small batches, using a kitchen towel to hold the lid securely. Blending hot liquid releases a lot of steam, and you are at risk of blowing the lid off or scalding your hands unless you keep a tight grip on top and use a towel to protect you from any escaping steam.

Serves 6 to 8.

Alice’s variations

  • For lighter, simpler soup, skip preliminary cooking and add onions and carrots directly to broth.
  • Garnish with whipped cream or creme fraiche seasoned with salt, pepper and chopped herbs (eg chervil, chives, tarragon).
  • Add 1/4 cup basmati rice with the carrots, use water instead of broth, add 1 cup plain yogurt just before pureeing and garnish with mint.
  • Cook a jalapeno pepper with the onions, add some cilantro before pureeing and garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Toast cumin seeds in clarified butter or olive oil and use to garnish soup.

Notes

  • For vegetarian/vegan option, use vegetable broth or water in place of chicken broth. Use water only if you are using very fresh and flavorful carrots.
  • A sprinkle of Heidi’s celery salt would be fantastic on top, or parmesan cheese toasts on the side.

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