More than Mirepoix: Roasted Carrot and Cilantro Soup

September. These are the last fleeting days of summer and the return of the crispness of autumn, not to mention the kids to school!

For me, September brings to mind scarves and warm coats, piles of newly yellowed leaves, wood smoke hanging in the air like unspoken words and an end to the bounty of summer harvests; now is the time to be canning, freezing and otherwise preserving all of the best summer has to offer.

Not to be outdone by it’s summer seasonal counterpart though, there is much that is in season in September, including apples, pears, potatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, figs and of course, carrots.

Uncomplicated and easy to prepare, carrots are something everyone uses but don’t often think of as much of a star ingredient. They are usually thought of as a side dish or a background flavor, are always at the center of mirepoix (the aromatics forming the base of most soups, stocks and sauces, at least in French cuisine), and are often served raw on top of salads.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that carrots have a sweet flavor profile and when roasted, their natural sugars are enhanced dramatically giving them a caramelized, deep flavor and a wonderful meaty texture when made into purées for soups, such as this one.Photo by Elizabeth Nyland

Roasted Carrot & Cilantro Soup

While carrots are often paired with dill, cumin or coriander, I prefer to hold on to summer flavors and pair my carrots with cilantro. The fresh taste of the cilantro brings a nice rounded taste to this dish and it is hearty enough to be its own meal or be paired with a nice light salad for a quick dinner.

It also freezes quite well in small batches and can last up to three months in a deep freeze.

  • 2 lbs carrots, peeled and uniformly sliced
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp veg oil
  • 6 small new or nugget potatoes, about 2/3 lb (Use only waxy varieties)
  • 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup cilantro (lightly packed)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss sliced carrots in 2 tsp vegetable oil, salt, pepper and cumin. Roast in the center of your oven for 30 minutes, turning once during cooking. Remove when slightly caramelized or blackened. Set aside.

  2. Photo by Elizabeth Nyland

  3. In heavy bottomed saucepan, sauté onion on medium heat in 2 tbsp of oil. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into large chunks.

  4. Photo by Elizabeth Nyland

  5. Once onions have turned slightly translucent, add potatoes and sauté for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the stock and turn the heat up to high. Once boiling, lower to a simmer.
  7. Keep simmering until the potatoes are almost done (about 10-15 minutes), then add the roasted carrots. Cook just enough to bring the carrots up to temperature, then remove from heat.
  8. Pour soup into blender or food processor in batches (or use an immersion blender). Add in your cilantro at this point as well. Blend it all up until it’s as smooth as you like.
  9. Return soup to saucepan and reheat.
  10. Serve with crusty bread for dipping and even a swirl of sour cream or crème fraîche.

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To Freeze: Allow soup to cool completely. Ladle into freezer-safe containers or glass jars, taking care to leave enough headspace to allow for ice expansion. Close lids, label clearly with the date and place in the freezer.

To Thaw: Whenever possible, thaw soup overnight in the refrigerator. For a quicker thaw, place jar in tepid water and let stand at room temperature. Never pour hot water over your jar or it may crack.

So what’s your favorite thing about autumn? Does the humble carrot make it onto your table?

About Elizabeth

On her blog, Guilty Kitchen, Elizabeth writes about the joys of local food, buying sustainable and feeling much too guilty after indulging in too many rich desserts.

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Comments

  1. This soup sounds delicious. You are right, I rarely consider carrots as a star ingredient – in fact they are usually an afterthought. Will put this on my soup list – is still cold down here even though it is supposed to be springtime – so won’t be long before i’m have a hankering for soup!
    Joe @ Eden Kitchen’s last post: Warm Millet &amp Broccoli

  2. My favorite thing about fall…the colors, the smells, the weather, the fact that it goes by two names, the clothes, the food, etc. I have too many favorite things about fall. ;) Fall is my favorite season and considering that the first day of autumn is only 2 weeks away, I’m excited. :D

    I usually put carrots in with a roast or eat then raw. This soup sounds good; I can’t wait to try it.

  3. This sounds really good. Now I just need to convince my husband that soup is indeed his friend. Or I just make it for myself and the kiddo :)
    Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead’s last post: Top Ten Ground Beef Recipes

  4. Thinking of the combination of flavors in this soup just blows me away! I love roasted vegetables of all kinds and carrots in particular. Combine them with potatoes, onions and cilantro and I can just imagine what a burst of flavor there is in every spoonful. This recipe is now on my must-try-very-soon list :-)
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme’s last post: Georgia BLT

  5. Love your site so much and this recipe looks wonderful!
    alison’s last post: Easy Honey Cake Recipe for Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah

  6. This looks super easy and delish! Thanks for sharing. I almost always have a huge bag of carrots and a bunch of cilantro in the fridge. Can’t wait to try the recipe!
    Katie @ goodLife {eats}’s last post: Cumin-Lime Pork and Pineapple Quesasdillas

  7. This looks so interesting! The only way I like carrots is to roast them, so I will be trying this for sure! abby
    Abby @ abby & her boys’s last post: Bittersweet- Review and Giveaway

  8. Yum…yum! You’re so right…I often forget to make carrots the star of my meal instead of just a supporting character. The soup looks delicious.

  9. Oh yum!!! I’m going to try this. I love carrot soup and enjoy carrots with cumin, ginger or curry in the soup, but I’ve never tried cilantro. Perfect end of summer dish. It’s going onto the menu plan for the week.

  10. Liz, this is like one of those dishes on Top Chef, that people scoff at because it’s so simple, and then it ends up beating out the others for the win because it’s, well, perfect!

    This would make a lovely Thanksgiving starter.

  11. Sounds great, if I can just stop munching delicious fresh carrots long enough to get some in the pot. An option to the now boring ginger carrot/curry carrot soup I have been making forever. Mmm I do love carrot soup.

  12. My favorite autumn food is a resounding “soup!” And this one looks great! Can’t wait to try it!
    Dana Zia’s last post: Saving some summer for those dark and stormy nights

  13. Verity Kae says:

    Do you think it would be alright to subsitute the cilantro with parsley? Im really not a cilantro fan but this soup looks delicious!
    Verity Kae’s last post: Soup it is!

  14. Sarah Gainey says:

    I made this for my MIL and husband this weekend. It was a big hit, but I would pair it with a sandwich next time since we were all a bit hungry 2 hours later. Great recipe for using up leftovers, thanks!

  15. Ooooh, this looks marvellous! I am trying to eat healthier at lunch and have been trying to hunt down non-boring soup recipes that will scratch my creative itch but also pack a punch in the flavour department. I’m excited to try this – thankyou for sharing :)
    Katia’s last post: cioppino (spicy seafood stew)

  16. It’s still time for a soup like this in our cold, blustery spring with only a few things in season so far at the farmer’s market (asparagus, mint, broccoli rabe). I love roasting vegetables for soup to bring out their sweetness– sweet potato, cauliflower, carrot– I’m thinking I’ll try a roasted asparagus soup next.
    Mary@Fit and Fed’s last post: Gingered Carrot Raisin and Fresh Pineapple Salad

  17. I’ve made this several times now. It’s sooo goood! I’ve started chunking up the onion and roasting it with the carrots…big flavour impact.

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