French Carrot Soup - Potage Crecy
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Potage, the French name for a creamy soup, is a delectable dish that deserves a steady place on a gardener's table. Originally from the region of Brie in France once known as the best carrot-growing region in the country, this potage relies on a few key ingredients to produce a soup that is creamy, full of flavors and satisfying enough to be a served as a meal along with a fresh loaf of peasant bread.
This carrot soup, named Potage Crecy in France, relies on fresh ingredients to really brings the flavor of the carrots at the forefront in this quintessential French recipe.
Oh, and butter. French cooking always uses lots of butter.
If you feel reluctant to use so much butter and cream in your own Potage Crecy, don't hesitate to tone it down. After all, I doubt the renowned French chef Auguste Escoffier, who wrote down this recipe in his eponymous cooking book had calorie-conscious eating in mind.
I find that using the recipe as is elevates this soup to a main-dish level, but I have also halved the butter and used light cream instead of the creme fraiche to great success.
If you are vegan or do not want to use dairy, substituting butter for coconut oil, coconut cream and creme fraiche for coconut milk makes an equally delicious cream, with the added bonus of the coconut flavor.
The addition of fresh garden herb, ubiquitous in French cooking, is key to the blast of flavor of this soup. I love parsley and thyme, but feel free to use chives or rosemary as well. Any herb you love that pairs well with the carrot flavor is going to please you in the end.
And remember: the true key to this soup's success is the sublime flavor of homegrown carrots, cooked slowly under low to medium heat. Blasting the heat too high will ruin the amazing flavor of this potage.
1.5 lbs. of thinly and evenly sliced fresh carrots
1 small onion as thinly as the carrots
1/2 lbs. of potatoes cut into small cubes (about 1/2 inch)
4 cups of water
1/2 cup of butter.
1 small branch of thyme
2 good pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream or creme fraiche
2 tablespoons of cut parsley (optional)
Melt the butter in a large cast iron pot, making sure to use low to medium heat and not to cook the butter.
Add the thyme, the sliced onion and the carrots and cook, stirring frequently. Do not use a higher heat and do not let the onions or the carrot to take any color. The trick to this recipe is to use low heat.
Cover for 5 minutes at low heat, allowing the natural water in the carrots and the onion to release. If not enough water is release, add a tablespoon of water halfway through. This process of butter steaming will bring out the flavor of the carrots and the onions in a way that high heat cannot achieve.
Add the potatoes, the water and bring to a simmer. Do not bring to a high boil, just a simmer!
Cover and cook at a simmer for 15 minutes, until all ingredients are cooked through and can be easily mashed with a fork.
Remove the branch of thyme and discard.
Add the heavy cream or creme fraiche and process using an immersion blender and a sieve or using a high powered blender (I use my Vitamix, but use whatever you prefer). Make sure the soup is reduced to a velvety, uniform texture.
Add some more butter if you want an extra delicious soup!
Laden into soup bowls and garnish with the fresh parsley. Serve immediately!
This recipe was adapted from the Escoffier guide to French cuisine from iconic chef Auguste Escoffier.