Our trip to the Chicago Art Institute really inspired a soup bonanza this week! After we enjoyed the celery soup so much, I decided to make another soup that I had never made before. This time, carrot soup. In my bowl you see both the celery soup and carrot soup served together. You can click on the link above to find the celery soup recipe.
This carrot soup recipe includes fennel seeds, leeks and thyme, all of which are favorites of mine. It also was fortuitous that my grocer was having a sale on bunches or organic carrots! I still had a little celery soup left when I made this so I decided to plate them together. It was a delicious combination, but the carrot soup was also delightful on its own. With the chilly weather we've been having, I was so grateful to have these soups to warm my soul!
As I promised, here are a few more of the highlights that we saw at the Chicago Art Institute last weekend. I am so grateful my husband also enjoys art! He was the one who organized our trip to the museum last weekend. How cool is that?
Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks" - one of my husband's favorites:
The classic Grant Wood "American Gothic". You can see the outline of the pitchfork echoed in the farmer's overalls. Also, the farmer's unmarried daughter's dress is echoed in the curtains on the upper gothic window.
Carrot Soup with Fennel and Thyme
Recipe adapted from Epicurious
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Several sprigs of thyme
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
5 cups (or more) of chicken stock (can also use vegetable stock)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Additional chopped fresh thyme for garnish, if desired.
Note: Removing thyme leaves is not one of my favorite jobs. In soups and stews I prefer to simply add whole thyme sprigs. As the soup cooks, the thyme leaves fall off of the sprigs and the woody sprigs are removed before puréeing.
Place a large saucepan or stockpot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add carrots, onion, leek, garlic, thyme sprigs and fennel seeds; stir to coat. Cover and cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Add 5 cups broth or enough to cover all of the vegetables and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and simmer until carrots are very tender, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes. Cool slightly and carefully remove all of the thyme sprigs (the leaves will have dropped off into the soup). Working in batches, purée soup in blender (or, use an immersion blender right in the pot as I prefer to do). Return soup to pan. Thin to desired consistency with more broth. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead.
Ladle hot soup into bowls and sprinkle with additional thyme, if desired.