If a big pot of soup is your family’s go-to meal during the winter, you are probably always looking for new recipes so you can mix it up a bit. Here’s an interesting variation on typical vegetable soup. It relies on roasted, pureed carrots for natural sweetness and a smooth, creamy, satisfying texture.
To make this a completely vegetarian version, use vegetable stock for the entire amount called for, omitting the chicken stock. If you are watching fat and calories, you can substitute milk or even skim milk for the half-and-half; just use slightly less. The texture won’t be as creamy, but the caramelized flavor of the onions and carrots will still really shine through.
I like to serve this with some crusty bread and a couple of croutons on top, as a garnish.
Roasted Carrot Soup
1 1/2 lb. carrots (about 8 medium), peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 tsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon minced garlic)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 3/4 cup unsalted chicken broth or stock (I like Kitchen Basics brand)
1 3/4 cup unsalted vegetable broth or stock
3/4 cups half-and-half
Fresh ground black pepper
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the carrots, onion, 1 teaspoon of the oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt on a rimmed baking sheet and then spread in an even layer. Roast until the vegetables are well browned and softened, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Do not burn the vegetables, as this will cause the soup to be bitter.
Transfer the roasted vegetables to a large saucepan. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, cover, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the carrots soften further, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and bay leaf; cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the broths. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the soup is flavorful, about 5 minutes.
Puree the mixture in a blender (or food processor) until smooth, and return to a clean saucepan. (You may need to do this in two or three batches, to avoid overfilling blender container.) Add the half-and-half and warm over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Thin with extra broth if needed. (The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Warm over low heat until hot; do not boil.)