I love carrots – after parsnips, they are my favorite root vegetable (apart from potatoes, sweet potatoes, and those kinds of tubers) to roast. Whenever I see crudités, I head for the carrots first. I’ve eaten more than my share of carrots at recital receptions, and I never tire of them. I do find packaged “baby carrots” to be a bit amusing – big carrots whittled down to become small carrots (I have no idea how they do it exactly). Actual baby carrots right out of the ground are a totally different creature and are sweet like candy.
I made a carrot cake the other day, from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks site. It’s a wonderful cake, very earthy and sweetened with bananas and dates – there’s no refined sugar (or unrefined sugar, actually – it’s just fruit sweetened) in this carrot cake. It’s one of my favorite things about this cake.
I did make a maple syrup sweetened mascarpone frosting for it, but after tasting the whole shebang, I found it made the whole thing too sweet, so I scraped a lot of it off. There’s only a thin layer now, and it’s perfect.
After I made this carrot cake, I had a bunch of carrots left over, so I decided to make soup out of them. I whipped up this cream of carrot soup the other day and it turned out to be simply amazing. It’s basically carrots and onions cooking in milk and then pureed. Cooking vegetables in milk and pureeing them is one of my base recipes – it works well with broccoli, cauliflower, root vegetables, and even dark leafy greens.
My bet is that one could make this dairy free by using homemade almond milk in place of the cow’s milk. Carrots and almonds go so well together. Maybe garnishing the soup with dukkah would be nice in that case, too!
Cream of Carrot Soup
1/4 white onion, preferably organic, chopped
carrots, preferably organic, washed and grated enough to make 1.5 cups
1 tbs unsalted grass-fed butter (I like using Kerrygold)
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 orange
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt/kosher salt
1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper/red pepper flakes
2 c. whole milk (mine is raw, but any kind of grass-fed milk would work just fine)
salt and pepper to taste
whole milk yogurt (I used raw yogurt, but regular whole milk yogurt would work, as would strained yogurt)
za’atar (optional, but delicious; fresh thyme leaves would be an alternative)
Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then add the chopped onion. Cook for a few minutes until softened, and add the grated carrots. Cook for a few minutes until they soften, too.
Add the olive oil and stir until combined. Squeeze half the juice of the orange (so, juice from 1/4 of an orange) onto the onions and carrots. Add salt and sprinkle on the Aleppo pepper.
Add the milk and combine everything in the pan together. Turn the heat down on low (do not let this mixture boil), put a lid on the pan, and simmer for 20-30 minutes until everything is soft. Note: you may have to place the lid on the pan at an angle if things are too hot, to let the steam out, and so as to not cause over-boiling (milk burns easily and smells terrible when it does).
Take the pan off the heat and blend everything in the pot with a stick blender (you could do this with a regular blender, too, but it’s just more work). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls and top with yogurt and za’atar (optional) to taste and squeeze a little more orange juice onto the soup.
Serves 1-2 people.
This post is participating in Real Food Wednesday hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.