The Best of Both Worlds In Charred Carrot Soup with Miso

The oven does most of the work in this easy soup that delivers real bang for the buck.
The oven does most of the work in this easy soup that delivers real bang for the buck.

As much as I love miso soup, I sometimes wish it was more substantial in body.

And as much as I enjoy carrot soup, I often wish it weren’t so one-note.

Now comes “Charred Carrot Soup with Miso” for the win.

It is indeed the marriage of carrot soup and miso soup that results in perfect harmony and happiness.

This superlative soup is from the new Food52 Big Little Recipes: Good Food with Minimal Ingredients and Maximal Flavor” (Ten Speed Press, 2021), of which I received a review copy. It was written by Emma Laperruque, the food editor at Food52.

As the title implies, this collection of recipes is all about making the most of a handful of ingredients to draw out deep, true flavors.

The beauty of this book is that it’s the way most of us want to cook at home, relying on a few staples to get food on the table with little fuss but loads of satisfaction. You’ll find just that in recipes such as “Rigatoni with Corn Sauce and Sizzled Corn,” “Braised Brisket with Forty Cloves of Garlic,” “Pork Tenderloin with Buttery Kimchi & Apples,” and “Low-Maintenance Oatmeal Cookies.”

“Charred Carrot Soup with Miso” is supposed to serve 6. I think it’s so incredible that you’ll want an especially big bowl, which is why I changed it to serve four to six in the recipe below.

What I especially love about this soup is its streamlined technique. Most vegetable soups call for chopping up the veg, and sauteing in a pot until browned, before adding stock and continuing to cook and stir until everything is tender.

You want to get the carrots very caramelized.
You want to get the carrots very caramelized.
Onions and celery get roasted in a another pan.
Onions and celery get roasted in a another pan.

Not so with this recipe. Yes, you chop up carrots, onions and celery. But then, you arrange them on two sheet pans that go into a hot oven. The vegetables get thoroughly tender all on their own in the oven. In fact, as the recipe states, the softer and more browned, the better. So, don’t fear if you get a few charred bits here and there, as that will deepen the soup’s flavor.

Puree everything in a blender.
Puree everything in a blender.

The roasted veggies are then blitzed in a blender with miso and plain water. Yup, no stock or kombu necessary to create this smooth, medium-bodied soup.

You will be amazed at the big flavors that result, too. The sweetness of the carrots is still there, but more caramelized in taste. The miso adds just the right amount of salinity with a subtle fermented back note to balance the carrot sweetness beautifully.

It’s carrot soup elevated from the ordinary. And it’s miso soup done up in a thoroughly unexpected way.

Call it a marriage of both for the ages.

Soothing and satiating.
Soothing and satiating.

Charred Carrot Soup with Miso

(Serves 4 to 6)

2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks

3 tablespoons neutral oil

Kosher salt

1 pound celery, chopped into 1-inch chunks

1 pound yellow onions, halved, peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks

6 tablespoons white miso, plus more to taste

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the carrots, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt on a rimmed baking sheet and mix. Combine the celery, onions, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and 1 teaspoon salt on another rimmed baking sheet and mix. Stick both pans in the oven and roast until the vegetables are fork-tender and dramatically browning in several spots, 40 to 60 minutes total, shuffling the vegetables with a spatula halfway through to encourage even cooking.

Add half the cooked carrots, celery, and onions to a blender along with 3 tablespoons of the miso and 4 cups water. Blend until smooth, then pour into a stockpot. Repeat with the remaining vegetables, the remaining 3 tablespoons miso, and another 4 cups water.

Give the soup a taste. Add more salt, water, or miso until it’s highly cozy to you. If needed, warm over medium-low heat, stirring evenly every so often until it’s however hot you like your soup. (Alternately, after you blend it, you can stick it in the fridge or freezer for another day.)

Adapted from “Food52 Big Little Recipes” by Emma Laperruque

More Food52 Recipes to Enjoy: Roasted Broccoli with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette and Marcona Almonds

And: Nonfat Gingersnaps

And: Peach Tart

And: Cherry Upside-Down Cakelets

And: Louisa’s Cake

And: Spicy Chocolate Milk-Simmered Chicken

And: Parsley Cake

And: Beach House Pasta with Shrimp and Grilled Limes

And: Featherweight Slaw

And: Cream Cheese Cookies

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  • This looks terrific — lotta flavor in this dish. Roasting veggies, particularly root veggies like carrots, really enhances their flavor. And I can’t turn down charred anything. 🙂 Neat soup — thanks.

  • Hi John: I can’t say enough about this soup. Not only is it full of flavor, but it’s so easy to make. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  • Wow, Carolyn — this sounds amazing. And so darn easy!

  • Hi Carroll: I can’t rave enough about this soup. This recipe is a total winner!

  • A cautionary comment: I made this last night & sadly, overdid it on my interpretation of your green light regarding the charring. Should have taken the onion/celery tray out much sooner. But the carrots still had a way to go, and I decided the rest could stay in a little longer too. Big mistake. The entire batch was permeated with an overwhelming “burned onion” flavor and had to be scrapped. (Insert sad face) Because of our desire to cut down on sodium, and in anticipation of a big hit from the miso, I omitted the kosher salt, and that seemed just fine. 10/10 for ease of prep and potential, though. Will try again!

  • Hi Carroll: Oh no, about the over charring. You do have to watch the veggies when they are roasting at such high heat. I hope you’ll give it another whirl, as it’s a soup that truly delights. And yes, skipping the salt in light of the miso that’s used would be fine.

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