Need to chase the bone chill as winter bears down? Try an oven-roasted carrot and shallot soup to warm the body and soul.
The humble carrot
When I teach cooking lessons to children, I know that I can't go too far out on a limb. Most have a definite list of what they will eat and what gets the side-eye. For many, the preferred way to eat carrots is au natural. No matter, if I tell them the carrots will get sweeter when cooked, the answer is no.
Carrots are a common vegetable. You find them relegated to prepackaged veggie trays or part of the flavor-enhancing culinary base, mirepoix. Worst case, they are shriveled and dry at the bottom of the crisper drawer (Or is this just common in my house?).
But are carrots ever celebrated? Sure they get top billing in a carrot cake but they often share the spotlight with pecans and cream cheese frosting. So let's change the carrot's reputation!
Roasted carrots and shallots
Roasting vegetables is a cooking method everyone should have in their arsenal. The sugars in the vegetables become caramelized when roasted and develop a deeper flavor. Often there is the play between sweet and savory, particularly in a vegetable like a carrot. The texture changes making the carrots almost creamy. Perfect for soup - satisfying, nourishing, and home-cooked.
Similar in sweetness and texture, roasted shallots play a supporting role, letting the carrots take center stage. But they do add a depth of flavor to the soup.
This recipe comes together with a hands-off approach requiring minimal steps. Peel the carrots and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I find it helps to separate the carrots by size so you can adjust the roasting time to make sure the little ones do not burn. Add the thickly sliced shallots to the small carrots. While the vegetables are in the oven, warm the chicken stock with the bay leaves and the thyme. If you prefer to make this a vegetarian recipe, vegetable stock will work fine.
Once roasted, puree the vegetables in a blender with a little of the warm stock. Add the puree to the remaining stock on the stove. Once the soup is hot, add the cream, cider vinegar, and adjust the seasoning. You're done!
Oven-roasted carrot and shallot soup
One of the most appealing aspects of this recipe is that carrots are often in the refrigerator, waiting for some love. There isn't a long list of ingredients. The soup doesn't need to simmer for long periods of time.
Creamy and flavor-packed, try the savory and caramelized oven-roasted carrot and shallot soup. Definitely, it will fight the bone chill of winter.
Oven-Roasted Carrot and Shallot Soup
- 2 sheet pans
- 2 ½ pounds carrots peeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups shallots thickly sliced
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 stalks thyme
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Separate the carrots so that the smaller ones are grouped together on one sheet pan and the larger ones are together on the other pan. The pans will be put in the oven at different times so that the smaller carrots do not burn. Coat the carrots with one tablespoon of olive oil per pan and season with salt and pepper.
- Put the larger carrots in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Turn the carrots over so that they are uniformly roasted.
- Add the shallots to the sheet pan with the smaller carrots and toss together to coat all vegetables with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place in oven with the other sheet pan and continue roasting for another 20-30 minutes. The cooking time is dependent on the size of the carrots.
- While the vegetables roast, warm the chicken or vegetable stock in a large pan. Add the bay leaves and thyme sprigs to the stock.
- When the carrots and shallots are browned and nicely roasted, take out of the oven. Add the vegetables to a blender. Add some chicken or vegetable stock so that the carrots and shallots puree easily. Be careful of blending a hot liquid. Make sure the lid is on securely. It isn't a bad idea to hold the lid down with your hand. Once smooth, pour the puree into the pan with the remaining stock.
- Heat over a low/medium flame. The soup will bubble and spurt. Occasionally stir until the soup is hot.
- Add the cider vinegar and cream. Stir to combine completely. Adjust the seasoning to your liking and make sure to remove the thyme stalks and bay leaves before serving.