It's soup season. And the season for foods in shades of orange and pumpkin. This past Sunday night I cooked my usual weekly fair of vegetables, starches and proteins, and realized as I was preparing a lot of things that were packed full of carotene. Carrots, sweet potatoes, beets. I also made pan braised salmon in a soy sauce glaze. We'll eat well and keep our eyes healthy at the same time, without, hopefully getting the Susan Dey-Glow from eating too many carrots.
Among the many dishes I cooked, I also managed to make a pot of carrot, sweet potato soup with thyme and dill. It's completely vegan,
souper super low-fat and deliciously good for you. I've written before that I once cooked/worked for a woman infamously frugal. The restaurant was well-known for its soups and most of them were vegetarian and/or vegan. I learned to make vegetarian soups with their own stock in one pot in one pass. We didn't have time or money to make a vegetable stock base; you did it all at once while the soup cooked. It was one of many great tricks I learned to appreciate later in my life, years after I no longer worked at her store. The trick to making a vegetable soup using only water as the base is to add in extra aromatics and spices along the cooking process. To make vegan soups taste and seem "creamy" you add in an Idaho or Russet potato.
As much as I love to make soup, because it feels like you're making great food from nearly nothing, I'm not a soup-eating fan. I often want a fuller meal and soup doesn't quite fill me. However, when you pair a hot steaming bowl of aromatic magic with some great bread and a bit of cheese, then I'm satisfied. I'll concede to vegan soup but not to a full vegan lifestyle. Sorry friends, I can only go healthy so far in my eatie's life!
The soup is pureed, so in addition to a medium or large stock pot, you'll need to have a blender, food processor or immersion blender in order to finish the soup. I used olive oil, it has more flavor than canola or vegetable oils. Whenever I use salt and pepper, they are kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Both have fresher flavors.
Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Thyme and Dill Ingredients:
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Celery Stalks - medium dice
- 1 Large Onion - peeled and cut into large dice (about 2 cups)
- 5 Carrots - medium dice (about 2 cups of chopped carrots)
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Thyme
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Dill 1 Medium Sweet Potato - peeled and chopped into medium dice
- 1 Small Russet Potato - peeled and chopped into medium dice
- 5 Cups Cold Water
- Salt and Pepper - to taste
- Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add in the celery, onions and carrots and sweat the vegetables until they release their juices and begin to caramelize - about 10 minutes.
- Add in the 2 tablespoons each of the dried thyme and dill, reserving the 1/2 tablespoon each for use later. Stir to release the flavor of the herbs, then add in the chopped sweet potato, russet potato and the cold water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook the soup until the vegetables are fork tender and beginning to fall apart - about 30 to 40 minutes. Next, season the soup with a few pinches of kosher salt and several grinds of freshly ground pepper.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool down before pureeing the soup. If using an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the stock pot and blend until smooth. If using a blender or food processor, have a large mixing bowl ready and work in batches.
- Ladle the vegetables into the work bowl of the blender or food processor and spoon in some of the cooking liquid to get the vegetables moving in the blender. Puree until smooth the pour the mixture into the mixing bowl. Continue pureeing the vegetables until the whole batch is smooth. If there is any cooking liquid remaining, whisk it into the pureed carrot/potato mixture.
- Pour the soup back into the stock pot, heat the soup back to a boil and then taste and adjust the seasonings, using the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of thyme and dill. Serve hot. Soup will keep for up to 4 days in a tightly covered container. Cool thoroughly before refrigerating. The soup can also be frozen and will keep for up to 3 months. Freeze in one or two portion containers.