Look what was at the farmer's market this weekend!
That's right: purple carrots. But stick with me; my story gets better. You know how cutting open a purple carrot usually reveals a slightly streaked but overall normal orange core?
Not these guys.
It's like working with beets. The juice is actually blue.
Obviously we needed to eat these carrots in one of the most pure and carroty forms possible. This means
This is a pretty standard vegetable soup. Soften alliums; soften veg; season; deglaze; add broth; simmer; puree. Voila!
While it's obviously more than possible to use regular grocery store carrots, the fresh farmer's market variety are super exciting to work with. They're also a bit sweeter and taste more intensely carroty. However, I find that even the worst, most shriveled and ancient carrots--you know, the ones you find under a deflated eggplant when you clean out the the crisper--can still make a very tasty soup. It's all good.
Purple carrot soup
optional hot pepper
lots of carrots (purple or mixed colors)
sage, thyme, marjoram
veg or bean broth of your choice
garnishes: parsley, yogurt, etc.
If you don't have broth, start a batch of it first.
Peel and chop a small onion and a shallot. Soften them in a soup pot over medium to medium-high heat with a slug of olive oil or some melted butter. I actually used both butter and oil, so I'd get butter taste with a higher smoke point. Yay!
If you like the spice, finely mince a hot pepper of your choice and add it to the pan. I used a not-very-hot jalapeno, but it's totally fine to leave the heat out altogether.
Give the onion mix five minutes to soften. While you're waiting, scrub and chop a handful of carrots and a stick of celery. I used three orange carrots and only one of the super purple kind, and yet the end result was still ultra-purple 3000.
Add the carrots and celery to your softened onions. Season with salt, pepper, sage, thyme, and marjoram. As always, I don't measure; use as much as tastes good to you.
Also, be advised not to accidentally grab the cinnamon and dump some into the pan, even if it has the same lid as the thyme and generally lives in the same quadrant of the spice cabinet. A swift and frantic internet search didn't reveal any spice blends that worked with both sage and cinnamon, so I had to start over. Boo! At least I didn't have the carrots in the pan yet when that happened.
Anyway. Cook your vegetables, stirring occasionally, for another five to ten minutes. When the vegetables are soft, deglaze the pan with a bit of dry vermouth or white wine. Then add your broth. I used about four cups of black bean broth, which added protein and contributed to the overall purpleness of the end product. Any kind of vegetable or bean broth that you think sounds good with carrot should work out fine.
Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about ten minutes, or until the soup gets close to your preferred solid/liquid ratio. Then take the pan off the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender (or, you know, an actual blender. Whichever).
Taste your soup for seasoning and adjust as needed. If you want to tweak your finished texture, go ahead; add more broth or water if it's too thick, and cook it down a bit if it's too thin.
Serve your finished soup with chopped parsley and your choice of other garnishes. I tend to go for yogurt, sriracha sauce, and chopped cilantro, which work surprisingly well, since the soup itself is mostly centered on straight carrot flavor. Other garnishes that might be good include croutons, garlic-sauteed winter greens, toasted sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds, or sour cream and dill. It's definitely a good idea to have toast or a sandwich on the side. We initially had ours with hummus lavash rolls, which worked out very well.
Hooray for purple carrots! What interesting winter vegetables are you guys cooking with lately?