One more soup for the cold weather in the wintery regions. A French Carrot Soup, Soupe aux Carottes Nivernaises. A very special soup, this one. Warming and buttery, sweet and luxurious, it deserves a place at your winter table.
This soup is a specialty of Nivernais, a former province of France, around the city of Nevers that forms the modern department of Nièvre, which ennobles the carrot in its coat-of-arms! Old recipes have twice the amount of sugar as carrots, but today, this amount is greatly reduced.
Soupe aux Carottes Nivernaises
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 – 30 mins
Serves: 4 – 5, depending on how you use it
500g carrots, peeled and sliced thinly – use a mandoline if you have one
1 – 3 Tblspn sugar – see the note on the sugar below the recipe
0.5 cup plain flour
6 cups vegetable stock or water
salt to taste
Heat 95g of the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the carrots and sugar, and salt to taste. Sauté uncovered for between 10 – 20 minutes, until the carrots are very tender (depending on the size of the carrot slices).
Purée the carrots and return the purée to the saucepan. With a wooden spoon, blend in the flour and cook gently for few minutes while stirring to cook out the flour. Dilute with cold stock, stirring carefully. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
Remove from the heat. Add the remaining butter and the cream. Sprinkle with chives or parsley if desired and serve.
A note on the sugar
The carrots can take more sugar than you might expect, and older carrots will take more than younger carrots. I like this recipe a little sweet, as it is meant to be a soup that is on the sweet side. Not like a dessert, but with a sweetness about it. The best way is to add some sugar, cook a little, taste, add a little more sugar if it is needed, and continue like this until you have enough sweetness for your taste.
An alternative is to leave the carrot slices whole (don’t puree them), and continue as per the recipe. You can add a little black pepper and a touch of thyme or sage if you wish.
Another way of cooking the soup is to cook large slices of carrots in the stock, then remove them from the stock and glaze with the butter and sugar. Return to the stock and serve.