Serves 6 to 8
Carrot soup is very flexible, becoming cream of carrot soup with the addition of cream, curried carrot soup with the addition of curry powder, carrot and orange soup with the addition of orange, and on and on.
Try to avoid large carrots, but if that's all that is available, peel well and cut as thinly as possible to make cooking more rapid. The addition of sugar will help sweeten the soup if the carrots are bitter.
Nathalie Dupree is the author of 13 cookbooks, most recently “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.”
She lives in Charleston and may be reached through Nathalie dupree.com.
2 tablespoons butter
5 to 6 medium carrots, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cups fresh or canned chicken stock or broth
3/4 cup heavy cream or plain yogurt (optional)
11/2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste (optional)
White pepper to taste
1 small chopped or crushed garlic clove (optional)
Finely chopped cilantro, chives, parsley or thyme (optional)
Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the carrots and onion, cover, and cook over low heat until soft, but not brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the stock, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or remove the solids with a slotted spoon and puree in batches in a food processor or blender until very smooth. (You may need to add a little of the cooking liquid to the food processor or blender.) If you want a really unctuous soup, force the puree through a fine-mesh sieve.
Stir the puree into the cooking liquid if necessary. May be made ahead to this point and refrigerated or frozen. When ready to serve, defrost thoroughly. Soup can be served hot or cold.
If serving hot, bring just to a boil and remove from the heat before adding cream, yogurt, etc. If serving cold, they may be added at any time. Season to taste with sugar, white pepper and garlic. Pour into a soup tureen or individual bowls and sprinkle on some chopped herbs.