Years ago now I got a copy of Nathalie Dupree’s Nathalie Dupree’s Comfortable Entertaining: At Home with Ease and Grace, a book full of good recipes, helpful hints about entertaining, and fun stories (as well as very nice photographs of the food). Over the years I’ve made various things from it, but the recipe that I’ve probably used most, adapted here, is for Cream of Carrot Soup.
The book gives a couple of ways of varying the recipe, but I’ve only ever made the version below. My chief adaptations have been to make the recipe vegetarian, since I first served it at a dinner where my guests were vegetarians. More recently, I made a vegan version that worked quite well, using soy-based creamer instead of heavy cream. I had read that soy milk and similar products don’t taste especially like actual milk. That may be true, but the slight vegetal notes of the soy creamer actually work well with the ingredients of the soup. For the vegan version, I also softened the onion in olive oil rather than butter.
The soup, if properly strained, looks and tastes elegant. It is also very easy to make and requires nothing that can’t be found easily in any grocery store at any time of year.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 10-12 medium carrots peeled and sliced
- 3 small onions thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- freshly ground black pepper
- chives for garnish
- Over low heat, melt butter in a heavy 5-quart pot and heat until foaming.
- Add carrots and onions, cover, and cook until soft but not brown, 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and stock and bring to the boil over medium heat.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 40-45 minutes.
- Remove solids and puree in batches (adding cooking liquid as needed) until very smooth.
- As each batch is pureed, force through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Strain cooking liquid and stir in puree.
- (At this point the mixture may be refrigerated for several days.)
- Bring mixture just to the boil, add cream, and warm through (but do not return to the boil).
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with snipped chives and serve.
Vegan variation: use olive oil instead of butter and soy creamer instead of heavy cream.