What could be more warming on a cold day that a bowl of hot soup? Carrots are so ubiquitous and most people use them only as a raw vegetable in salads, or boiled as a cooked vegetable. Sometimes they’re roasted, elevating their flavor a few notches. This soup plays off that theme, with the roasting adding great depth of flavor, and the cumin spice adding a warmth without too much heat. I didn’t add any cream, and you won’t miss it either. To thicken it, I used some leftover cooked brown rice, but if you haven’t got any leftover rice, just add some uncooked rice and simmer the soup until the rice is tender.
A crucial part of the flavor also came from the broth I made using these leftover parmesan cheese rinds. I always have some in my freezer, and I add one or two rinds to nearly every soup or stew I’m making. But this is the first time I made a broth using mostly rinds, with some aromatics thrown in too (carrot, celery, fennel frond, onion, garlic and bay leaf). If you don’t have any rinds, feel free to use a purchased vegetable or chicken broth for this soup instead.
While the broth was simmering, I roasted the carrots, by slicing them in half and placing them on a cookie sheet, tossed with a little olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or so. They’ll soften as they roast, so the soup won’t need much cooking. After the carrots are roasted, sauté a shallot in olive oil, then add the roasted carrots, some of the strained parmesan broth, the leftover rice and some seasonings. Cook it for 20 minutes, or slightly longer if using uncooked rice. Pour everything into a blender or Vitamix and purée until smooth. Be careful with hot liquids in a blender. They have a tendency to burst from the top, so pour in a little at a time for blending. Put everything back in the pot and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
Serve the soup with a smattering of croutons, and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar to take it over the top. You’ll never look at a humble one-pound bag of carrots in the same way again.
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- 1 pound of carrots, cut in half and roasted in 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cups parmesan broth (directions below, if not, use vegetable broth or chicken broth)
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup cooked rice (I used brown rice, but white is fine)
- If you don't have leftover cooked rice, add ¼ cup of uncooked rice to the soup instead
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- aged balsamic vinegar
- home made croutons
- Cut the carrots in half and roast them in a pan smeared with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Roast them at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Place the minced shallot in the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté until softened.
- Add the roasted carrots, the strained parmesan broth, the rice, and the seasonings.
- Cook everything together in a simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and using either a blender or a stick blender, puree everything until silky smooth.
- Serve with droplets of aged balsamic vinegar and croutons.
- TO MAKE THE PARMESAN BROTH:
- -12 parmesan rinds
- stalk celery
- clove garlic
- frond of fennel (optional)
- -7-8 cups water
- Place everything in a stock pot and let simmer for one hour.
- Strain and use as directed above.
- FOR THE CROUTONS:
- Trim the crust off some sturdy bread and cut into small cubes.
- Cook over medium high heat in about 1 tablespoon olive oil until browned and crispy.