Velvety Carrot Soup

Velvety Carrot Soup

This recipe looks long, but half of the ingredients are for making a
quick vegetable broth. Look for carrot juice in the produce section of
your supermarket.

Buying and Storing Carrots:

At the market, look for firm carrots with smooth skin.
And if possible, taste before you buy. If you’re shopping
at a farmstand, you might have several varieties to
choose from. Nelson, Napoli, and Mokum all have
slender orange roots and terrific flavor. Vibrant orange
Chantenay carrots are a bit stouter but just as snappy,
juicy, and sweet.
Once you’ve purchased your carrots, use them soon,
as they lose flavor and nutrients over time. True baby
carrots—not those whittled-down stumps sold in plastic
bags—should be used within 5 days, while more mature
carrots should last about 2 weeks. Store carrots in the
coldest part of the refrigerator (usually that’s the back
of the bottom shelf). They will stay crisp longer in a
plastic bag.

Makes about 81/2 cups;

serves 8

For the broth:

1/4 cup medium-diced peeled
1/2 cup medium-diced dark
green leek tops (from 1 to
2 leeks; rinse thoroughly
after dicing; save the white
and pale green parts for
the soup)
1/2 medium onion, cut into
medium dice (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 fennel bulb, cut into medium
dice (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 celery rib, cut into medium
dice (about 2 Tbs.)
1 small clove garlic, smashed
and peeled
1 small bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh parsley

Make the broth

Put the carrots, leek tops, onion, fennel, celery, garlic, bay leaf, thyme,
and parsley in a 4-quart (or larger) saucepan. Add 10 cups cold water
and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to
medium low and simmer for 1 hour. Strain the broth into a heatproof
bowl and discard the solids. Measure out 5 cups of broth for use in
the soup; save the remaining broth for another use. Rinse and dry the
saucepan and return it to the stove.

For the soup

3 T bs. extra-virgin olive oil
5 medium shallots, thinly
sliced (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup thinly sliced leeks, white
and pale green parts only
(from 1 to 2 leeks; rinse
thoroughly after slicing)
2 small cloves garlic, smashed
and peeled
K osher or sea salt
33/4 cups medium-diced peeled
carrots (about 11/2 lb.)
2 T bs. granulated sugar
2 cups carrot juice, either
homemade or store-bought
1 T bs. peeled finely grated
fresh ginger
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 small Fuji apple

make the soup

  1. In the saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add
    the shallots, leeks, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring
    occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not browned,
    about 5 minutes. Stir in the carrots and sugar. Cover, reduce the heat
    to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are soft, 15 to
    20 minutes. Add the 5 cups broth and the carrot juice. Bring to a simmer,
    uncovered, over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and
    simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  2. Wrap the ginger in a small square of cheesecloth and use the cloth
    to squeeze the ginger juice into the soup (discard the squeezed-dry
    ginger). Remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth (fill
    the jar no more than half full). Pour each batch of the puréed soup into
    a medium-mesh sieve set over a clean heatproof container. Use a
    rubber spatula to help the soup pass through, but don’t press on the
    solids yet. Once the last batch has drained through the sieve, press
    lightly on the solids (but don’t mash them through the sieve) to
    extract the remaining liquid. Discard the solids. Season to taste with
    salt, pepper, and 1 to 2 tsp. of the lemon juice.
  4. When ready to serve, peel and core the apple and cut it into medium
    dice. In a small bowl, toss the apple with 2 tsp. of the remaining lemon
    juice. Reheat the soup, if necessary, and ladle it into individual serving
    bowls or cups. Serve immediately, garnishing each bowl with a small
    spoonful of the diced apple. —Dan Barber