Sunday, September 29, 2013

Carrot Soup with Greens


The leaves are beginning to blush, there’s a chill in the air and we’re closing our windows at night.  Summer has waved good-bye. Normally, I wish for summer to linger on a bit, but after the glorious sunny months we just enjoyed I am happy to welcome fall. The changing seasons have brought changes for our family, too.

This past week was filled with emotion and excitement. We took our son, Sam, to University of Oregon where he is starting his freshman year.  Let me just say, the process of letting go is not easy, yet I know Sam is ready for this new chapter. I’m missing him like crazy and at the same time know he’s in for so much fun and learning. I’ve loved every phase of parenting and this new stage holds many yet-to-be-discovered joys.


Still, comfort food was in order and a warm, simple bowl of soup felt right. I’m starting to stock our freezer with jars of soup for the cold nights ahead here in the valley. At the market, carrots are still available and when I grabbed a couple of bunches recently I had soup ideas dancing around in my mind. Some baby greens also snuck into my bag, so with these ingredients in tow I headed home to make soup.


Soon I had a pot of carrots simmering away in chicken broth with onions and red chiles. After a quick puree, I added a splash of lime juice, some fresh basil and a mix of baby kale, chard and bok choy. The greens wilted quickly and I ladled the finished soup into bowls. I swirled a dollop of coconut cream into each bowl, its creaminess balancing the spicy kick of chiles nicely.


Snuggled up by the fire with autumn unfolding all around, I sip my soup and hear about Sam’s new life in Oregon. It’s all good.

Carrot Soup with Greens
Makes just over 2 quarts

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 1/2 pounds carrots, washed and cut into 1/2 inch slices (I don’t bother to peel them)
3 small red chiles, minced
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
8 ounces greens, such as a mix of baby kale, chard and bok choy, chopped if leaves are large
Coconut cream to dollop (optional)

In a large soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and beginning to brown, stirring a few times. Add the carrots, chiles, stock and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, until the carrots are soft. Remove from the heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot until smooth.  Return the pot to the heat and add the lime juice, basil and greens. Cook over medium high heat for about 2 minutes, just until the greens are wilted. Serve hot with a dollop of coconut cream.

The soup can be made ahead of time through the blending step. At that point, cool and then chill the soup. When close to serving, reheat the soup and proceed with adding the lime juice, basil and greens.

22 comments:

  1. Hannah, you are handling this transition with such grace - I really admire you! I love the addition of red chilies and the coconut cream. A bowl of this would have been perfect tonight - it is cold (50F) and has been raining hard since yesterday!

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    1. Thank you, Alyssa! I appreciate your supportive words. This is indeed a big step in parenthood! Sam is doing great and his first week of classes went well. All good! We're having cold nights here, too, and I'm craving soup all the time now. Stay warm and dry! xo

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  2. Hannah, that looks so delicious and healthy. Good attitude about the weather changing. I agree, the chilis and coconut milk make it a whole different kind of soup. Wonderful. I have to try that. I wonder if adding lemongrass would pick up on some of the flavor as well. Delicious!

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    1. Thank you, Amanda! Mmm, love your suggestion of lemongrass...I may add some next time. I hope you're enjoying the changing seasons!

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  3. I was thinking of you last week - your absence from the usual social media channels reminded me that you must be making the college move. Hope it went well. G's girlfriend moved into UCLA and finally started classes late last week.

    Usually, soups that start with a sweet vegetable don't go over big in my house but this combo of flavors really intrigues me. I am going to give it a try for sure. I love the way you marry ingredients - every post is an education for me.

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    1. Hi Beth! Sam is settled in well and enjoying life at UO. He just finished his first week of classes - they start so late! Happy to hear your son's girlfriend is a Bruin - I'm a UCLA girl myself. :)

      I hope you enjoy this soup. I agree about sweet veggie soups, which is why I tend to add chiles or other strong savories. I do the same with sweet potato soup, too. Thanks for your kind words! xo

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  4. This soup looks gorgeous. And, oh how I miss blushing leaves.

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    1. Thank you, Lynda! Autumn really is a beautiful season. One of these years I want to get back to New England in October to see the blaze of color there again.

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  5. My mom is having a hard time now that my brother is away at college, too. He seems to be adjusting okay--he's been calling my brother and I and not my mom in an effort to prevent homesickness, then we relay his messages to my mom. It's been 6 and 8 years since my brother and I left home, so this process seems new again. My parents are going to see him soon for parent's weekend. It will be a happy reunion, for sure.

    Fall soups! I almost caved and made a fall soup last week because the weather was terrible and I was fighting a cold, but this week it's forecast to be sunny and in the upper 70s! So I can't go there just yet. But I will soon, and this is such a great candidate for a bowl of warm comfort.

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    1. Hi Brianne, going off to college really is a big transition for everyone, isn't it? I'm glad your brother has you to call - I'm sure that's a huge comfort for him. Glad to know he's settling in well. And yes, parents' weekend will be a happy reunion!

      Hold onto your sunny, warm weather as long as possible! We have a long soup season ahead. Happy fall to you! xx

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  6. I only made soup from carrots when I need something, anything to use use up an abundance I found in the fridge. Now it's one of my favorites...the flavor lends itself SO well to such a wide variety of spices. And it's pretty to boot; I'll be trying this.

    Shoot...I still have days I wish my girls were back home and they're both in their 30's. Letting go IS hard! :)

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    1. I sighed reading your comment, Barb. I know I'll be having similar feelings when my boys are in their 30s, too! It's just so much fun having them under the same roof. Hopefully they'll at least be nearby. :)

      You're right about carrots - they marry so well with many spices and flavors. I hope you enjoy this one!

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  7. Eugene is a fun place and U/Oregon is a terrific school - Sam will have an amazing time. We've been soup crazed lately - this looks wonderful. I often add carrots to soup as flavoring but so rarely make them the focus - I need to do that. Super stuff - thanks so much.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, John! Sam is already having a great time and is settled in well. I think he's in for some terrific college years!

      Carrot soup is emerging as one of my favorites, especially since we usually have some on hand and it's easy to change up the spices and flavors based upon your mood. Enjoy!

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  8. I love carrot soup and your recipe is so interesting with the greens added to it...a perfect fall meal.

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    1. Thank you, Karen! I'm loving this season in the kitchen so far. I'm sure you're jumping into some delicious fall cooking!

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  9. As always, this looks delicious! I love your cooking's mix of elegance, simplicity, and comfort.

    Hope you're getting to enjoy these gorgeous fall days! Give a shout when you're going to be next in Seattle!

    xo,
    E

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    1. Thank you so much, Erina! I'm smiling. We're having some beautiful, crisp, Massachusetts-like days here and I'm happy. I'd love to see you and will definitely be in touch. xoxo

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  10. Hi Hannah, now that is one exotic bowl of carrot soup :) Happy to hear you are enjoying the onset of fall, for the most part it is Spring here...with odd down pour & gale force winds!!

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    1. Fall is lovely here right now - crisp and sunny, although we had a rain shower sneak in yesterday. I hope your wind and rain move on and you get to enjoy more spring fun and cooking! Happy spring to you!

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  11. I love carrot soup! I've only had it from friends' homemade (not my homemade - sad!) and remember how delicious it was. I promised myself to make it for kids but time passed by... This recipe sounds wonderful and was a great reminder. Thank you Hannah for sharing this recipe!

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    1. My pleasure, Nami! I'm happy you enjoy carrot soup. It really is a versatile one and marries well with so many different flavors. We always seem to have carrots lingering in the fridge, so I'm sure it'll be a regular one now that fall is here.

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