T’is the season for all of those bright orange veggies to shine: squash, pumpkin and even the lowly carrot. This is my favorite variety of vegetables—maybe because they are so versatile. Every fall I bring this soup recipe out and remember why I love it so much. Rich, thick, and savory with a hint of sweet, and it feels like health and sunshine going down. The whole family scrapes their bowls clean when I make it and, for those who are concerned, it can be made Vegan friendly (with a couple of minor modifications) and it is gluten-free.
I got this recipe when I attended Ginger Creek cooking class in Greenwich, NJ, with my mother-in-law, Carol. It was such a lovely class—I went to several over the years. The class itself was very informal. Nancy would open her beautiful old home and her students, usually about 12 of us, would sit around her elegantly laid dining room table. I imagine it would be like walking into Martha Stewart’s home. The creative décor was always appropriate to the season and unique—I can’t imagine where she kept all her dishes!
As the class began, Nancy gave each of us a packet of recipes and then began her magic in the kitchen. A large mirror was hung over the stovetop so that we could watch her work. Each class covered a full meal—soup to nuts, salad to dessert—plus a few extras. As she finished each course, she would serve us the wonderful dishes she prepared. It was a pricey class, but well worth an enjoyable afternoon and the recipes she sent home with us. This particular recipe has been a favorite for nearly 10 years!
One of the many reasons I like this recipe is that it has two parts: Balsamic Roasted Carrots (a fantastic side dish) and the Carrot and Tomato Soup. Two dishes in one. Additionally, it’s easy!
Balsamic Roasted Carrots
2 lb. whole organic carrots (peeled) *class note: Organic are sweeter
1 T olive oil
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs butter
3 Tbs minced fresh parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 425. Slice each carrot in half lengthwise into one or two pieces (I use a couple bags of baby carrots and slice the thicker ones in half lengthwise—saves a step.) Place carrots in a shallow baking dish & sprinkle with a liberal dusting of lemon pepper (Or, lemon juice and pepper). Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, butter and parsley to the pan. Toss to coat carrots. Sprinkle with salt. Roast about 50 minutes, stirring once about 25 minutes into the roasting. Remove from the oven when carrots are browned, tender and glazed.
*Class note: You can use any root vegetables or brussels sprouts—or a mix—for this side dish.
**My Note: Line the inside of the pan with either parchment or foil. This can be very difficult to clean up otherwise! Also, do not forget about these carrots. I made them the other day, put them in the oven, then went to take a shower—completely forgetting about them. I came out to discover adorable little carrot sized charcoal briquets in my oven. Disaster!
Roasted Carrot & Tomato Soup
1 Tbs butter
2 cans (15 oz) stewed or petite diced tomatoes seasoned with onion, celery, or garlic.
1 ½ C Balsamic Roasted Carrots (do these ahead)
4 Cups chicken or vegetable broth (low or no sodium)
Place the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat until the butter has browned. Add the tomatoes and roasted carrots to the pot. Sprinkle with pepper and stir to heat through. Pour in the broth, bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Puree to desired consistency
Etcetera: You can add one or more of the following: fresh ginger, tarragon, orange juice.
*Class Note: Soup freezes well and doubles easily.
**My Notes: To make this vegan, obviously you can’t use butter, so replace with either olive oil or a vegan alternative butter. To puree, I love love love my immersion blender, but you can also use a food processor. You’ll just need to return it to the pot to reheat.
Serve with a hearty cornbread and a salad and voila! Bon Appetit