CARROT SOUP with CHICKEN & THYME
A Bird in the Oven and Then Some
by Mindy Fox
A little bit of potato gives this soup its velvety-smooth texture. The carrots are slowly stewed, which coaxes out their sweetness. Pick up fresh-dug types at your farmers market, whenever possible, for the most vibrant carrot taste.
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 1¾ cup coarsely chopped white onion (about 1 medium)
• 1½ pounds carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
• 1/4 pound new or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
• Fine sea salt
• 4 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
• Pinch or two sugar (optional)
• 2 teaspoons white peppercorns
• 1 cup small shreds roast chicken, at room temperature
• 1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
• 4 thin slices lemon
Heat the oil and butter in a 5½ to 7-quart Dutch oven or heavy saucepan with lid over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the onion, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until softened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the carrots, potatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and continue cooking, covered, for 10 minutes more.
Add the broth, increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Gently simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Carefully puree the soup in a blender until smooth, then return to the pot, gently reheat, and adjust the seasoning, adding a pinch or 2 of sugar to sweeten the soup if the carrots are not sweet enough.
In a mortar and pestle or, using the heel of your hand on the flat side of a chef's knife, coarsely crack the peppercorns. Divide the soup into serving bowls and top each serving with the chicken and thyme leaves. Squeeze a little lemon juice over each serving and sprinkle with the crushed peppercorns.