Cream of Carrot Soup with Chorizo Migas
With El Nino hitting us hard this year, soup has been a regular on the menu all winter. A couple weekends back, during an unusually wet and rainy day, I found myself craving Cream of Carrot Soup. I was remembering the Cream of Carrot soup at my favorite ‘date’ restaurant in San Francisco. It was the late 70’s and it was at a little neighborhood restaurant called” Burton’s”. It was a perfect restaurant to take a date, although I remember the food much more fondly than the dates. That soup was just one of many dishes I loved there, from a place now long gone, but permanently etched in the food archive portion of my mind. I remember trying to recreate it a few times but could never quite get it right. That was a long time ago, and fortunately, I have had years to hone my soup making skills. Now it was the time to give it another try. This recipe is what came of my Cream of Carrot soup craving that weekend.
Cream soups are my favorite soups of all, but they must be perfectly creamy and smooth. This soup did not disappoint. I made a roux and simmered the carrots in a thickened chicken stock, which resulted in such a great texture that I didn’t even need any cream (of course I added some anyway)! I have also found that when it comes to making a pureed soup, I always seem to get a better texture when I use the blender. It is not as convenient as the immersion blender but worth the effort, especially when using firmer vegetables like carrots or winter squashes. I thought about adding some herbs but chose instead to go basic with just a pinch of cardamom, salt, and pepper. There are, however, many ways to liven up carrot soup such as adding dill, saffron, ginger/cilantro, chipotle, or you name it. When I am not cooking for company I don’t get too fancy with the garnish, but I have been doing some research on another recipe for ‘Migas’, and I thought it would be awesome to garnish the soup with it…and it was! I had never even heard of migas a month ago, but now it is one of my favorite things to eat. So as a bonus, you get to read all about it here!
Migas is Spanish for crumbs, but it is many different things depending on where you are. In Spain, where it originated, it consists of a little meat or sausage, garlic, and paprika fried with some leftover bread (works for me). Originally more of a breakfast food, it is showing up almost everywhere including the menus of upscale restaurants and garnishing food blogger soups. In Mexico, it refers to a soup made from day old bread. In Tex-Mex cuisine, it is a hearty version of chilaquiles, which is a breakfast scramble of fried leftover corn tortillas, and eggs. In the American Southwest, it is taken a step further with the addition of onions peppers and cheese.
The recipe for migas is very simple. You just fry up some chorizo or other sausage, remove it from the pan, add some more olive oil and fry some torn or cubed dry bread until it is crisp. If you want you can add some garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper, but that is up to you. Even without the migas, this soups delivers!
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ¼ cup flour
- 32 ounces chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- ½ cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper
- 1 generous pinch of ground cardamom (optional)
- Melt the butter in a non-reactive medium pot or Dutch oven, add the onions, and stir until softened but not browned.
- Add flour and stir constantly until well blended (about 1 minute).
- Add the broth slowly while whisking constantly, until the stock is smooth, reduce heat and simmer for a 4-5 minutes
- Add carrots and bring to just a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Continue cooking until carrots are very tender (40-50 minutes).
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes or so.
- Using a blender, blend the soup in batches, filling the blender up half way only, then transferring to a bowl. Return the soup to a pot when all the soup has been completely blended.
- Heat the pureed soup up over medium heat and add sour cream.
- Season with salt and pepper (and pinch of cardamom, if using).
- Ladle soup into soup bowls and top with migas.
- Fry ¼ pound chopped Spanish Chorizo (rind removed) in a little olive until crisp, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add 2-4 tablespoons more olive oil and fry 2 cups day-old, dry bread (crusts removed) until brown. Add chopped garlic (if using).
- Season with salt, pepper, and paprika before removing from heat.