Now that the the weather has taken a slight turn, going from too warm to comfortably cool, I can finally think about sharing one of my favorite soups. The result of a fortunate accident many years ago, cream of garlic-and-carrot soup has been a favorite in my French cooking classes for eons. And it’s so easy to prepare that I don’t have the heart to send it into soup retirement, plus the slightly sweet carrot flavor teamed with smooth, buttery garlic pretty much screams classic.
This silky, mellow soup offers up traditional autumn color, with a crunchy little surprise in the fleurons, which are nothing more than decorative bits of puff pastry. Think swellegant croutons bumped up to the 10th power. I’ve charged them up a bit with the addition of hot smoked paprika. Consider buttery puffs bursting in your mouth, leaving you with a slight tingling from a dusting of the hot smoked paprika. I could eat these like popcorn. Sure, my arteries might protest, but my taste buds would stand up and cheer.
The soup takes less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish, and you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand. You easily can double or triple the recipe, depending on how many you’re feeding.
So, if you feel a little chill in the air, go make this soup, and the adorable little fleurons. You won’t be disappointed. Let me know how it goes.
Cream of Garlic & Carrot Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and white pepper to taste
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add carrots and sauté on medium-low heat about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté about 2 minutes. Be careful not to brown the garlic.
Stir in flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Don’t under cook, you want to cook out the raw flour taste. The mixture will look a little pasty, don’t worry because the broth will smooth it out beautifully.
Add chicken broth. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until carrots are soft.
Remove the pan from the heat and blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. A traditional blender also works, but be really careful when blending hot soup. (You can make ahead to this point.)
Return pan to low heat and stir in cream, season with salt and white pepper and heat through.
Garnish with a dab of sour cream and fleurons.
Makes about four servings as a first course, or two as a main dish.
Just a note. Cream soups should be silky. They should never be confused with mashed potatoes. I don’t understand why some people like thick, gloppy cream soups. Don’t be those people. The soup should slip easily from the spoon, not plop.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, whisked until blended for egg wash
Hot smoked Paprika
Thaw a sheet of frozen puff pastry dough, but keep it cold. Using miniature cookie cutters (Mine are from an Easy Bake Oven that I reviewed a few years ago. No kidding.), make as many fleurons as you think you’d like. You also can use a knife to cut shapes.
When the pastry shapes are cut, place them on a non-stick cookie sheet and carefully brush each one with a little egg wash. Dust on a bit of the hot smoked paprika. Please don’t use regular paprika that your grandmother sprinkled on cottage cheese. It has no flavor. Smoked paprika is a different, delicious animal.
Place the cookie sheet with the seasoned puff pastry in the freezer. Cold puff pastry puffs, room temperature puff pastry does not.
Bake for about 6 to 8 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
Serve on top of the soup.
I sort of sift the hot smoked paprika onto the fleurons with a fine mesh screen for even coating.