Carrots are an ubiquitous vegetable and one that I always keep on hand. This soup is straight forward, carrots cooked in broth and pureed with a touch of cream. What gives the soup its depth of flavor is the hazelnuts and the parmesan rind. I got the idea from light summer minestrones I make, full of vegetables and herbs. I try to keep the leftover rinds from my wedges of parmesan cheese and throw them in soups. After the soup is cooked, I toss the rind away. It is like getting one last squeeze of flavor from the cheese. Simply garnish your soup with some toasted hazelnuts and hazelnut oil. You have a clean but richly flavored soup.
Carrot Soup Garnished with Hazelnuts
6 small servings
2 shallots, peeled and minced
2 TBL olive oil
5 cups carrots, trimmed, peeled and sliced into ¼ “slices
4 cups of chicken broth or water
Heal of parmesan cheese (the thick end of a wedge that is inedible)
¼ cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, with skins rolled off and very coarsely shopped
Toasted hazelnut oil or good olive oil
In a soup pot over medium heat, sauté shallots in oil for five minutes or so, until they are soft but do not burnt.
Add carrots, broth and cheese rind. Cover pan and simmer ½ hour, until carrots are soft but not mushy. Remove rind and throw away. Add cream and blend with a blender stick or regular blender until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. If the soup is too thick, blend in some water. When you are ready to serve garnish the bowls of soup with hazelnuts and a of drizzle hazelnut oil.
Since this is such a simple soup the better tasting the carrots are, the better tasting the soup will be.
Another garnish that would be good with this soup is chiffonade fresh basil.
Image by Annetta Bosakova from the 2013 fall issue of Gatherings Magazine, A Forgers Dinner written by me !!