I just made a lovely pot of carrot soup with tarragon. In fact, I’m eating it right now while I’m writing this (trying valiantly not to spill any on my keyboard). This is my dinner, and yes, it’s after 10 pm.
After relaxing for an hour or so after work, I headed to the market, my favourite place to shop. I stopped by the starkly lit grocery store to stock up on goods that the market doesn’t carry, and then checked on my other house on the way home. (Owning two homes is over-rated … two weeks to go before the sale closes, and I think I’ll need to celebrate with a special dessert! But I digress…) Anyway, it was 9 o’clock before I started preparing the soup, and it was a wonderful way to unwind after a long day.
I worked from home today, and planned to take a midday break with a nice walk. Well, nothing like some rain, of both the freezing and run-of-the-mill varieties, to put the kibosh on that. I thought I might end the day a bit early, envisioning a frenzy of productivity. Unfortunately I spent a good part of my time on conference calls and actually worked longer than I usually do at the office. So, by the end of the day I found myself feeling quite restless. All I could think about was making a good pot of soup. Carrot soup.
Why carrot? I haven’t made carrot soup in years, and as I recall my last effort was a little on the bland side. Maybe I just needed a hit of colour on a dull day. Or maybe this craving is my body’s way of telling me I need vitamin A. Or perhaps the bag of carrots languishing in the refrigerator was somehow calling out to me. Oh well, whatever (yes, I’ve had two teenage daughters). What matters is that this soup is really good. From somewhere in the ether, I got the idea to flavour it with tarragon, an herb I’ve used only once or twice. I thought its anise flaour would go well with the carrots, and I’m pleased to say it does.
This pretty soup, although pureed, still has some texture to it, and appealing freckles of tarragon, thyme and pepper. The carrot taste is subtle, complemented by the liquorice overtones of the tarragon and the bite of the pepper. (I do like my pepper.) It’s changed my perspective on carrot soup, and I definitely won’t wait so long before making it again.
Carrot Soup with Tarragon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 large potato, medium chopped (I used an Idaho potato)
- 8 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 4 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium, organic broth)
- about 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- about 1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook the shallot and garlic in the olive oil, along with some pepper, over low heat in a large pot while preparing the other ingredients. Add the potato and simmer, then the carrots. Add the broth, salt, more pepper to taste and the thyme and tarragon. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Once the soup is cooked, check for seasonings and adjust as you see fit. Puree the soup (I use an immersion blender) until quite smooth. There will still be some small bits of carrot, but they’re very tender and that adds interest to the texture. The potato, along with the puree method, thickens the soup quite nicely.
This is an elegant soup that would make an impressive start to dinner for company. This particular pot of soup, though, will be all gone by the end of supper tomorrow. In fact, I’m on my second bowl right now…. mmmm.