This morning on my back porch it was only 40 degrees. Fall just began a couple of days ago and it is already crisp and cool here in the Catskills. Barry and I went for a drive this weekend and found that the leaves are already changing along the southern tier. We even stopped at a roadside farm stand and bought our first pumpkins.
We stopped for dinner at the Old Mill Restaurant in Mt. Upton, NY (http://www.oldmill-mtupton.com/). This lovely eatery has old world charm, comfort food, the kindest wait staff, and a lovely view. I ordered my meal and chose the soup of the day, creamy carrot soup with dill, as my appetizer. I took one taste and I was sold. I have to tell you that impressing me with anything carrot is a big deal, so this was a wonderful find.
The server was amused when I put down my spoon and asked him immediately if I could have it to go. I told him it was so good, that if I ate it, I wouldn’t be able to eat my meal. I wanted to take it home and savor it, and then figure out how to duplicate it. He not only packed it up to go, he added more! YUM!
And so it begins…the soups of fall. I have been salivating at the thought of butternut squash bisque (Tammy’s boyfriend makes the most divine butternut squash bisque. I have been known to be greedy and to refuse to share.) but this new option really got me started. Mmm … butternut squash is for another day. Today, explore my super simple creamy carrot soup. You will need:
- one pound of carrots ~ cut in ½ inch slices
- one white onion ~ diced
- olive oil
- salt ~ about 1 tsp
- pepper ~ about ½ tsp
- nutmeg ~ a couple of grates or shakes if you are using ground
- water ~ about 1 cup
- chicken broth ~ about 1-1/2 cup ~ you can use garden vegetable broth if desired
- heavy cream ~ just about 3 tablespoons
Now this already looks easy, right? It is. Here is the preparation:
Heat the oil (two turns of the pot should do) in a large soup pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add onion and carrots to the pan and sprinkle them with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Now I can tell you approximate measurements, but remember … add a little, taste a little, add a little more … Cook them for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the water and broth to the pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until carrots are tender. Add the cream and stir. At this point you can add more liquid of you like a thinner soup, or leave as is for thick and creamy.
Take an immersion blender and blend until it is a consistency that appeals to you. You can also put it in a food processor, but if you do so it is important that you cool it first and do it in batches. Make sure to take a final taste and add any extra salt, pepper, or other flavors you love.
Sprinkle the top with dill (or other fresh garnish you love) and serve. Now when you taste and love this, play with adding other flavors that you love. Put in one potato (chopped up small to have even cook time with the carrots) to give the consistency a more robust feel. Try different fresh herbs, whatever is in your garden or you found at the market. Add a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream on top. Toast some ciabatta bread for dipping.
If you have not made soups before, this one is a no muss, no fuss, perfect-for-the-beginner option. There are more to come, but in the meantime, go to the market and get some carrots. Enjoy the flavors of fall!