I was drawn to this recipe, because it doesn’t try to gild the lily, so to speak. I rather like the way carrots taste, sweet or not. This carrot soup is notably lacking excess sweeteners, and boasts one mere teaspoon of sugar. The result, unless you have very sweet carrots to start with, is a wholesome and comforting soup which is just on the edge of savory. It is simple and basic. It is also elegant and flavorful.
It is a perfect soup for Easter. It’s beauty is enhanced by it’s incredibly easy preparation. If Easter (or any day) is already getting out of hand, consider putting this soup on the menu. I told my kids that it was a bowl of Easter bunny bait. That worked.
¾ cup chopped onion (about half of a medium onion)
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
1 white potato, cubed
1 quart low sodium chicken broth
1 splash of Tabasco
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and Pepper
¼ cup Half & Half (or up to 1 cup, depending on your preference)
1) Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Saute the onions and celery in the butter until tender. Add the carrots, potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Add the Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, sugar, salt and pepper.
2) Simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Discard the bay leaves and process the carrot mixture with an immersion blender. If using a regular blender, do it in several batches.
3) Add the Half & Half and stir it in completely. Heat the soup until it is at your desired serving temperature. Garnish with croutons, or a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy.
Comfort is a word that I like. I am particularly fond of foods that impart a sense of comfort. Warm, creamy soups naturally tend to be comforting. The whole notion of The Meaning of Pie has to do with how foods make you feel, and how they can evoke sensations and emotions of comfort, well-being and home. This recipe by Virginia LaSala is from a wonderful cookbook, named Creating Comfort. If that isn’t right in my wheelhouse, nothing is. What’s more, it is a community cookbook, put out for the 20th anniversary of the Genesis Women’s Shelter, an organization close to my heart. Community cookbooks, Junior League Cookbooks, and church cookbooks pull me in like a good novel. I love the stories, the names, the simplicity, and the tried and true reliability of a recipe shared with friends.
About 6 months ago I was thumbing through Creating Comfort, and happened upon a biscuit recipe by Maya Angelou, a salad recipe by Mary Matalin and James Carville, a cookie recipe from Laura Bush, and recipes by a number of Dallas culinary stand-outs such as Dean Fearing. I sat on my couch pondering whether or not I knew anyone who could give me a blessing on hijacking one of these recipes. Nothing came to mind. Days passed.
Then, rather out of nowhere, I was invited by the vibrant and fun Lori Whitlow (the woman makes her own yogurt, cottage cheese, and jams, on her ranch in Central Texas…I am in awe) to a charity dinner. Lori, being apparently a magical fairy in addition to a great cook, seated me next to Jan Langbein, the Executive Director of Genesis Women’s Shelter (and several other notable ladies of the Dallas philanthropic scene…my silly self stuck out like a sore thumb as the least useful person at the table). Jan is my new BFF, at least that’s what I’m telling everyone. She is beautiful, intelligent, and exceptionally useful. And she apparently makes killer pies. We talked about lard the whole evening. Love love love. And, she told me I could use any recipe out of the book that I wanted.
And this is the one I chose. There are many others that I have made or will make in due time. Most have a sweet quote or an anecdote from the contributor about the genesis, so to speak, of the recipe…a grandmother, a friend, a beloved aunt. I think there are but a few of these cookbooks left. I assume that everyone in Dallas already has one, but if you don’t, you should get one. And if you are not from Dallas, it is worth buying because it has the recipe for the Greek Omelet from John’s Cafe, one of the best omelets on the face of the Earth.