Dreamy Organic Carrot Soup

This low-cost, low-ingredient soup costs pennies per serving but tastes like gold, especially when carrots are in season. The recipe can be halved or doubled or tripled without sacrificing taste, and it freezes very well. As with most soups, the work-intensive parts of making it are prep and finishing. Cooking time is minimal. Allow about 1 hour to make it from beginning to end.

Ingredients
1-3 medium size garlic cloves, chopped fine
¼ cup minced onion or shallot
olive oil, approx 1-3 tablespoons
4 cups sliced or chopped organic carrots
1-2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
black peppercorns, coarsely ground, approx 1 tablespoon
4-8 cups filtered water, or your choice of light stock

Optional
1 tablespoon butter or butter substitute
1-2 tablespoons Canadian maple syrup, to taste (1-2 tablespoons dark brown organic sugar can substitute)
Note You may use potato or other stock instead of water. If only potato stock is used, the soup will be thick and starchy, so use it sparingly in a ratio no higher than 1 part potato liquid to 6-8 parts water. It will detract from the purity of the carrot flavour. For that reason, either a very light veggie stock (in winter) or plain filtered water is recommended. As well, potato stock is starchy and will thicken the broth while interfering with its taste profile. Our goal is to shine the light on the exquisite flavour of organic carrots, which is delicate and easily overwhelmed by other, heavier flavours such as potatoes or celery or even the seasonings in pre-made or packaged broth. In summer and autumn, when carrots are fresh, only use water.

Method
Brown onion or shallot, garlic, and sprinkle with seasonings to taste in approximately one to three tablespoons of olive oil – enough to generously coat the bottom of a heavy-bottom soup pot – in the pot, over medium heat. When browned, stir in carrots, flipping gently with spatula to coat lightly with oil. Sauté together over medium heat, stirring occasionally till carrots are just cooked but still firm.

In winter, or with less flavourful carrots, add butter and maple syrup or dark brown organic sugar to carrots, and stir to mix in. Add 4-8 cups cold filtered water to soup pot, or enough water plus 1-2 inches, to cover carrots. How much liquid you use is a matter of personal taste. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. When boiling, turn heat down to medium-low, cover pot and allow to cook together, stirring occasionally, adding liquid if soup seems too thick, for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Remove cover from pot, stir gently, and allow the soup to cool slightly. When less hot, transfer soup to blender, 1-2 cups at a time, making sure there are nearly equal parts of liquid and solid in each portion. Blend the soup in portions at ‘blend’ or ‘liquify’ speeds, depending on your blender and your personal taste. If using a hand-held blender, you can whiz the soup directly in the pot after allowing it to cool slightly to avoid hot splatter.

Return blended portions to pot. When all the soup is blended, sprinkle in coarsely ground peppercorns and sea salt to taste. Be sure to taste the broth before and while adding salt, so as not to overwhelm the carrot flavour. Stir soup together and heat gently. When heated through, transfer to soup bowls to serve.

This soup can be frozen in single-serve portions, or in whatever amounts are suitable to your needs.