Pumpkin soup. Such a wonderful comforting winter treat. Smooth and slightly sweet, with its warming sunny colour it’s one of those soups that can’t help but lift your spirits as the days draw short and dark.
The only problem is the pumpkin preparation. In particular hacking through that tough, tough skin. I have a really vivid memory from when I was little of my mother struggling to cut through a giant Queensland blue pumpkin. I remember thinking that this cooking thing sure looked like a lot of work. And when there’s pumpkin to prepare, I still hold that opinion.
So I can’t tell you how excited I was the other day when I sat down to a simple lunch of carrot soup only to be greeted with a steaming bowl of sunshine and sweetness with just the right amount of savouriness to balance it out. We’re talking a soup just as good as my beloved pumpkin but without the work.
To be honest I didn’t have very high hopes for this soup before I tasted it. I’d picked up a bunch of baby carrots with the intention of using them for something where they would be the star of the show. Flicking through St Nigel’s vegetable bible, there wasn’t a heap of options jumping out until I spied his carrot soup. It met the criteria for being vegetarian and showcasing my carrots. It would do.
We’re talking a soup that far exceeds expectations. And is super simple to prepare – I’d much rather make light work of chopping through scrubbed baby carrots than hacking into a pumpkin. So when you’re in the mood for some mood enhancing pumpkin soup, why not try out my baby carrot instead?
Baby Carrot Soup
Inspired by Nigel Slater (yes – still obsessed) in Tender Volume 1 – A cook and his vegetable patch.
If you can’t get your hands on baby carrots, regular carrots will be fine. You need about 450g or 1lb carrots.
If you prefer a creamy accompaniment to your pumpkin soup, you’ll probably enjoy a little splodge of sour cream or pouring cream in this soup but to be honest it’s lovely without. I like mine with some crusty sourdough slathered in butter.
The soy sauce might seem a little odd here but it really works to bring more than just saltiness to balance out the sweet carrots.
2 brown onions, diced
1 bunch baby carrots, scrubbed, trimmed & chopped
1 x 400g (14oz) tin tomatoes
pinch dried chilli flakes, optional
2-3T soy sauce
1. Heat 4T olive oil in a large saucepan and cook onion over a medium heat until soft and just starting to brown. Add carrots, tomato, chilli and 3C water and bring to the boil.
2. Simmer until carrots are tender, approx 20 minutes.
3. Process until smooth with a stick blender or food processor. Add 2T soy and taste. Season with salt, pepper and extra soy if needed.