Carrots. I can't say I have a deep and profound love of this humble veggie, but neither do I intensely hate it. I've always thought of it as a backdrop to other yummy things like pot roast or creamy ranch dip.
This soup really brings the carrot to the forefront and gives the entire soup a sweet/savory, almost butternut squash depth of flavor. It is an extremely simple recipe that only took me about 30 minutes to pull together.
If you try it, don't skip making the herbed croutons that go with it - they really flavor the soup SO well!
Carrot Leek Soup w/ Herbed Croutons
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter (or substitute olive oil)
- 1 onion (diced)
- 2 leeks (light green and white parts only - chopped)
- 2 large cloves of garlic (chopped)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 lbs. carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 3 fresh or 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tbsp. dried thyme
- 2 cups cubed crusty bread (I used a baguette)
- 1 tbsp. dried dill (use fresh if you have it!)
- 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1. Melt 3 tbsp. of butter or olive oil in a large dutch-oven style pot over medium heat. Add in the onion, garlic, leeks, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook until softened and just starting to turn a golden brown color.
*NOTE: Remember to thoroughly rinse your leeks. They grow in a sandy soil and really have a ton of grit hidden inside all those layers. I chop mine up, then soak them in cold water and give them a final rinse through the colander.
2. Add the broth, carrots, bay leaves and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer covered until the carrots are tender (about 15 minutes).
3. While the carrots are cooking, start making your herbed croutons. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and melt the remaining 3 tbsp. butter or olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once it is melted or the oil is hot, toss in your bread cubes and sprinkle liberally with the dill and salt. Toss the pan to make sure the cubes are completely coated, then transfer them to a baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy.
4. When the carrots are tender, discard the bay leaves and puree the soup using either an immersion blender or in batches using a traditional blender. Once the soup is smooth, whisk in the yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve it up topped with the herbed croutons and enjoy! I used the extra baguette and a few tomatoes I had lurking in the fridge to whip up some fresh tomato/basil bruschetta...it was the perfect addition to the meal.