You read that right: it’s soup weather in Seattle again. And you read the other part right, too: this soup is made from carrot tops. Don’t worry, Harold McGee says they’re probably safe to eat.
The recipe comes from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors and it’s my favorite kind of soup recipe. The star of the show here is a single bunch of young carrots, from top to root tip. Pick a perfect bunch next time you’re at the farmers market (a rainbow bunch is always attractive, but these delicate orange carrots came from our Nash’s CSA).
Show those carrots off by making such a simple soup that the carrot flavor gets to shine. The frilly, spring-green carrot leaves highlight the vegetal notes that underlie the carrots’ sweetness. A handful of herbs, a few spoonfuls of rice for body, and the soup makes the water you add into its own rich broth.Carrot Top Soup: Prepare your soup ingredients in advance, including plucking the tender frilly carrot leaves from the stems of six medium carrots (don’t use tougher-looking leaves or any stems). Melt 2 Tb. butter in your soup pot. Add two thinly-sliced leeks (use the white and light green parts; save the dark green tops for stock!), six thinly sliced or finely diced carrots, the carrot leaves, two good sprigs of thyme, a handful of chopped parsley, and 3 Tb. uncooked white rice. Saute for a few minutes without letting the ingredients brown, then add 6 c. water and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked. Fish out the thyme stems and taste for salt. Serve each bowl of soup sprinkled with more chopped parsley.