The Best of Both Worlds In Charred Carrot Soup with Miso
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.
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.
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.
Charred Carrot Soup with Miso
(Serves 4 to 6)
2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
3 tablespoons neutral oil
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: Louisa’s Cake
And: Parsley Cake
And: Featherweight Slaw
And: Cream Cheese Cookies