January is National Soup Month. For me, the word "soup" conjures up feelings of warmth and comfort. I would bet just about everyone has a favorite soup. This week I'd like to share one of my favorites. This recipe made with our Alaska-grown carrots just doesn't get any sweeter or more elegant.
Cream of Carrot Soup
8 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1 bay leaf
2 cups chopped yellow onion
6 cups carrots, 3 cups quartered lengthwise, then diced into 1/4-inch thick pieces, 3 cups sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1/3 cup chopped red or green pepper
2 cups chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cups fresh carrot juice, or blend 2 cups chopped raw carrot with 1 cup water until pureed
2 cups russet potatoes, chopped into chunks
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons Spike
3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
2 oz fat-free cream cheese
3/4 cup nonfat milk
1 10-oz package frozen peas, rinsed under hot water to thaw
2 tablespoons dried chives
salt to taste
In a large pot bring to boil: water, butter, bay leaf, onion, diced carrots, green or red pepper, celery and garlic. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 20 minutes or until carrots are tender. Add the sliced carrot rounds. Bring soup to a boil again, cover and simmer about 15 minutes, until carrot rounds are just tender.
Add carrot juice or puree, basil and Spike. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Remove from heat.
Blend together sour cream, cream cheese and milk until smooth. Add to the soup: the milk mixture, peas, chives and salt. Heat on lowest heat setting just until hot.
Linda Athons is an agent at the Alaska Cooperative Extension Office on Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna. She is a home economist and involved in the 4-H/Youth Development programs.
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