Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cheesy Carrot Soup

I consider the start of spring to be March 1.  No, the weather usually isn't reliably warm, and I certainly won't be bringing in baskets of produce, but I know the worst is over at that point.  This winter has not even been particularly harsh, but we still are craving reminders of spring.

Part of that is the desire for fresh veggies, so this weekend I adapted my favorite Cheesy Potato Soup recipe to be Cheesy Carrot Soup.  Although this isn't as thick as potato soup, I love the crunch of the onions and carrots.  I really love the way it looks: the dill that I dried this summer unfolds into these beautiful tiny green leaves; store-bought dill won't do that.  And the pasture butter and carrots really give it a beautiful golden tone.

Cheesy Carrot Soup

2 T butter (Pasture butter if you can find it)
1 c diced onions (From the root cellar if you have thought ahead; add more if you like onions)
1 pint chopped carrots (From the freezer if you have them from summer; you can add more here too)
3 c stock (I made about 2 gallons of beef/chicken stock this weekend, so it was nice and fresh)
1 c heavy cream or half and half (Organic, again)
2 c shredded cheddar cheese (Sharp is nice in this)
1 T dill weed (Dried from the summer makes it free.)
A few grinds of salt and pepper

In a medium stock or stew pot, saute onions in the butter until they are translucent. Add stock and carrots and cook until carrots are soft.
Add cream, spices, and cheese. Cook until cheese is melted. If you are using dill you dried yourself, you will see it "bloom" open, adding a lovely green speckle against the beautiful yellow of the soup.
Serve with homemade bread and jam.  Makes 4 servings.

The Analysis

Fast:  I have this base recipe down to a science, so I can go from cutting board to table in less than 45 minutes.  It is important to keep a good reserve of stock in the freezer or pantry in case the desire for this soup strikes.

Cheap:  I bought butter, cream, cheese, and onions.  Therefore, total cost for the recipe was probably in the $5-7 range, which is not bad for 4 servings.  If you have to buy the stock, you will pay more.  Carrot and dill costs will add in too.

Good:  This is just what we needed this weekend:  a good, veggie-filled, warm soup to reignite our enthusiasm for things.  I can't wait until summer again when every meal is filled with veggies fresh from the garden!
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