Article and photos by Lisa Crockett
October is the month of orange, one last burst of color as the season changes. It’s such a fallish hue, with the cozy connotation of the falling leaves and jack-o’-lanterns that are the hallmark of the season. I love all the orange foods: pumpkin, butternut squash, oranges (of course) and even – for the month of October only – candy corn. Carrots are an especially nice way to bring this fall color to the table, and they get top billing in this month’s recipe, which uses this ordinary vegetable and just a few other ingredients to create something warm and satisfying.
October also ushers in the perfect season for a bowl of soup. This one is a real beauty, too, because it uses ingredients most of us have lying around in the fridge and pantry and turns them into something scrumptious. Just dice the veggies and give them a gentle simmer on the stovetop, then blend them until they’re smooth. Despite the ordinary nature of the ingredients, this soup is made special with the addition of whipped (unsweetened) cream, which not only creates a dramatic presentation but also imbues the soup with a light, velvety texture as the cold cream melts into the warm soup. It’s fancy enough for company but simple enough for a quick weeknight supper.
This soup is nice and light, so it’s an excellent choice for days when you’re looking for something deeply satisfying but not heavy. It’s a particularly good bet this month since there are bound to be days when Halloween candy is on the menu; this soup is just the thing to balance a day of indulgence. Of course, it can also be served alongside a fresh green salad, a crusty loaf of bread, or a grilled cheese sandwich for a meal that’s a bit heartier. If you’re really feeling fancy, it would also be an excellent first course for a more formal occasion.
If you happen to have access to fresh carrots from a farmers market, by all means toss them in the broth for this recipe, but regular grocery store carrots will do just fine. In fact, if you have a few that have perhaps been languishing in your fridge for a while, this is an excellent place to put them to good use. Do be sure that your veggies aren’t spoiled, but beyond that, you need not be too fussy about this dish, as its flavors and texture are meant to be simple and homey.
If you have an immersion blender, this is the perfect opportunity to use it. Once the vegetables are softened in the broth, they’ll just need a quick whirl to smooth them out. If you opt to use a regular blender to blend the soup, just be sure to work in small batches (about a cup at a time) to avoid mishaps with hot liquids moving at high speed. Either way, determine whether you want your soup to be totally smooth or left with a few chunky bits for interest.
Once your soup is finished and ready to serve, ladle it into serving bowls and dollop on the cream. A dusting of celery salt is a nice finishing touch before serving. Then, just for a moment, visually drink in the vibrant color of this perfect October soup. This dish is the very essence of fall: warm and inviting, cozy and invigorating, a celebration of the harvest that delights and satisfies.