Carrot and Leek soup is a low-calorie, healthy and hearty soup. Warm, aromatic spices such as cinnamon, bay leaves and cardamom give it an earthy flavour. It is a great change from the regular potato and leek soup and a perfect meal for lunch or dinner.
The other day I saw carrots in all their finery in the vegetable market. Carrots with their green leafy tops look so fresh and inviting. Though I have never cooked carrot tops before, I just bought them on a whim. I thought I will either use the carrot leaves in salad or make a dip. They made such a lovely pesto.
Weather in Bucharest has been quite erratic. Last week it was 35ºC and this week it has been cloudy and raining throughout. Temperatures have dropped to 18ºC which feels much lower with the wind. Warm and nourishing, a soup is a perfect meal for lunch or dinner to beat the cold waves.
With this bunch of lovely carrots lying on my counter, I didn’t need to think too much for the dinner menu. I love my roasted carrot soup recipe but carrot and leek is the new combination I felt like trying. Leek renders a slightly sweeter taste to the soup and also gives volume. A lot like onion in that respect but milder in taste.
While leek and potato soup is fairly common, one doesn’t find leek and carrot so often. In my opinion leek and carrot so easily top leek and potato. Both carrots and leeks together make this a sweet vegetable soup and the warm spices give the right contrast and balance to the flavours. So next time give the leek and potato soup a miss and try this carrot and leek soup!
I used the carrot tops to make an easy, 5-ingredients carrot leaves pesto which was the perfect topping for the soup. You have to try it and you will never ever throw the carrot tops again!
Carrot and Leek soup with Carrot Greens Pesto
Preparation time: |Cooking Time: |Serves: 2 as main
~250 gms leeks
~250 gms carrots
1 small red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1″ cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 green cardamoms
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
- Trim, wash and chop the leek into small pieces. Peel and chop the carrots, onions and garlic. Chop the thicker stems of carrot greens too. Prepping the vegetables is what takes time in this soup. The rest of the cooking is mostly passive.
- Heat a deep saucepan on medium heat. Add the spices — cinnamon, bay leaf, peppercorns and cardamoms. Dry roast for a minute till you can just start to smell the aroma.
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic and onion. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the thick carrot green stems and two cups of water. Simmer for 10 minutes. This is my basic vegetable stock recipe. Just dry roasted spices, onions and garlic. I added the stems from carrot tops just because I had them for this soup. Strain the stock.
- In the same pan, add another tbsp olive oil and return to heat. Add the chopped carrots and leek, stir them around, cover and let cook for 5 minutes. Stir the vegetables in between so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Pour in the stock, add salt and pepper and bring the soup to a boil. Cover and let it simmer on low heat for 10 mins or until the carrots are tender. Add more water if required.
- Blend the soup to a thick consistency right in the pan. Check the seasoning and serve hot with some freshly made carrot top pesto.
Approximate Nutrition Information for one big generous bowl of Carrot and Leek soup:
Have you tried the carrot and leek combination? What is your favourite carrot soup recipe? I would love to know and learn. Leave a comment or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. Would love to start a conversation, share recipes, cooking experiences and food stories from India and around the world.