Creamy Carrot and Thyme Soup

I have a slight obsession with soup. It hasn’t shown itself yet, as I tend to back off the soup fetish in the summertime, but now that the mornings are getting crisp and the leaves are beginning to chance, my soup craze kicks in.

Luckily, I have the perfect recipe book to give me some inspiration. It’s not actually an official publication, but rather a recipe book that I received for making a donation to Sacred Heart Shelter, with forty seasonal soup recipes (ten per season) that were each shared by a local Seattle chef.

Now, most of the soups are too fancy for me. I try to keep it basic – partly for quickness, but mostly because I only drive the one hour each way to a grocery store once every three weeks or so and load up like I’m stocking for Armageddon. Looking for a bunch of specialized ingredients isn’t high on the priority list.

Despite the intimidation-factor of most of the soups, I’ve simplified a few of the recipes to make it work for items I have on hand at the house.  While I’m cooking, in a mellow mood, I’DSC03512m listening to the dreamy pop of Beach House’s Bloom, the duo’s fourth album released, put out by Sub Pop, and the first album to consistently introduce actual drums into their recorded sound.  The title Bloom is fully appropriate for the evolution of this band’s sound and ideas.

Yum on many levels. So here it goes.  Creamy carrot soup with thyme.

Ingredients:

  • 12 cup olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme, removed from stems and chopped DSC03135
  • 4 lbs carrots, cleaned well and rough chopped
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (I usually use 8 cups of warm water and 8 tsp. of Vogue’s instant “VegeBase,” or I use some of my own polypore vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • (optional) 6 oz. Camembert, Gorgonzola or ripened brie with rind removed, to melt as drizzle for presentation

Directions:

  • Combine olive oil, onions, and fresh thyme in a large soup pot, and cook over medium heat for approximately ten minutes, until onions are soft and semi-transparent. DSC03131
  • Add carrots and vegetable stock (or in my case, water and vegetable stock replacement), and cook gently for about twenty minutes, until carrots are soft.DSC03136
  • Using an immersion blender (or in small batches in a standing blender or food processor), blend one or two minutes, until soup is smooth and creamy.
  • Add half and half, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Ladle into bowls and serve.DSC03137
  • (optional) garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme
  • (optional) garnish with melted Camembert, Gorgonzola, or brie that has been melted in a small pan over low-heat, and drizzled into each bowl. *The Gorgonzola has become a personal favorite, as I always have it on hand, and I love the lift it gives to the soups flavor.

Simply, healthy, and satisfying, this soup can be a staple on your table anytime carrots are in season – from late spring, well into the fall.

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