I love to eat soup in the fall and winter. It's healthy, filling and just warms you right up. It even cures the crankiness that comes from being stuck between stops on the 4 train for a half and hour and then transferring to the Q and ending up sandwiched between a crazy whistling Rasta man and two high school girls singing Schumann. True story.
Of course, being stuck on the train can lead to impaired memory and judgement. Especially if your normally meticulous grocery list is crumbled at the bottom of your purse and you just don't feel like getting it. Maybe before you left work you realized that rosemary would be really great in the soup that you're making for dinner but you're out. Then when you finally get to the grocery store, and hour and a half later your brain, being a bit overwhelmed, overstimulated and bewildered by your experiences being stuck underground, tells you that you most definitely need thyme. You don't need thyme. You picked it up two weeks ago for another recipe. (Um...so...if anyone just ran out of thyme, drop me a line. I've got extra).
This is a twist on a soup I've been making since college. It's from the first cookbook I even purchased for myself, The Clueless Vegetarian. It is definitely written for high school and college students who have just declared themselves vegetarians. It has advice on how to talk to your family, about trying tofu (I believe that section is entitled: "Tofu, It's Inevitable") and other problems that may arise for a young vegetarian. I used this cookbook a lot. There are pages falling out, splatted with sauces and stocks. There are still a handful of recipes that I still make. Creamy Carrot Soup is one of those recipes. And in the 11 years I've been making this soup, this is the first time I haven't made it exactly as directed. I changed the cooking technique slightly (the original was a saute the onions and dump everything else in sort of recipe) and added a few things. I would have added some rosemary too (1/2 t dried). That is if I hadn't forgotten it.
1 T olive oil
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T white wine
1/2 t dried thyme
4 large carrots (about 8 oz)
3 very small sweet potatoes (about 4 oz)
1 small Gala apple (about 4 oz)
2 c vegetable broth
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 c milk or soy milk
a sprinkle (probably about 1/4 t) ground sage
Heat the oil in a medium sized, heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and the garlic, sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and cook, stirring, until the onion is golden-brown and softened (7-10 minutes). Pour in the wine and the thyme and cook, stirring until the wine has evaporated. Add the carrots, sweet potatoes and apple, season with a bit more salt and pepper and cook, stirring for 3-5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are completely soft.
Remove from heat and transfer the vegetables and apple to a blender and puree, pouring the liquid through the hole in the top of the blender. When the mixture is completely smooth, pour it back into the pot and heat over medium-low heat. Add the milk and sage, stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is heated through (DO NOT LET IT BOIL).
Ladle into bowls and serve with some good bread.