So, here's the recipe with a few add-ins. The original recipe is more like a first-course soup. I tweaked it just a little to make it more of a meal for our family. Add a loaf of good bread, salad and you've got a great winter meal.
First, wash and peel 12-14 medium carrots . . .
Next, clean 2 leeks. You will use the white part only (trim off the roots). Slice the leeks lengthwise, separate well and rinse. Sand and dirt may be trapped between the layers so it's important to wash well . . .
Next, peel the skin off a large onion and thinly slice, slice peeled and cleaned carrots and thinly slice the leeks . . .
Place 4 tablespoons of butter in a large stock pot and heat to melt . . . (This is 8 tablespoons. Gotta double the recipe for this family!)
Add carrots, onions and leeks. Saute over medium heat until soft, about 10-15 minutes.
Add chicken broth . . .
. . . bacon (uncooked), sugar and seasonings. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer slowly for 20 to 25 minutes (longer is fine) or until carrots are tender . . .
Add rice; cook an additional 20 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Now . . . soup doesn't look all that great does it? Kind of runny. Weird with that raw bacon. Very weird. But . . . this is where it all comes together. That raw bacon, well, that is THE very best part of the soup. We have a saying in our house, "Bacon makes everything better!" and it is so true for this soup.
Take the soup and puree in SMALL batches in food processor or blender until smooth. It is critical to do this in small batches. If you load the blender too full, the steam will build up pressure and blow the lid off the blender. Messy and HOT (and dangerous if it explodes in your face).
I usually ladle the batches into the blender, then pour pureed soup into another bowl until the whole pot is blended. Then, I pour it back into the stockpot.
Next, add 2-3 cooked, shredded chicken breasts. I usually buy a rotisserie chicken (or two) and shred those up. Easy, fast and they add more flavor.
Last, stir in the heavy cream and garnish with fresh thyme or rosemary. It is equally good with either. Toss a few croutons on top and serve with good French or a rustic whole grain bread.
I know, it doesn't seem like it could be that good does it? Trust me. The bacon is the key and it is so yummy and the perfect comfort food for a cold day.
Here's the recipe in full:
French Carrot Soup
4 Tbsp butter
10-12 medium carrots, peeled, sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 leeks, white part only, carefully washed, thinly sliced
10 cups chicken broth
1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (uncooked)
1 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup uncooked white rice
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 cooked, shredded or cubed chicken breasts
croutons or toasted bread cubes
Fresh thyme or rosemary (your preference)
In large saucepan or stockpot, melt butter. Add carrots, onion and leeks. Saute over medium heat until soft, about 10-15 minutes.
Add broth, bacon (uncooked), sugar and seasonings. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer slowly for 20 to 25 minutes (or longer is fine) or until carrots are tender. Add rice; cook an additional 20 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Puree in small batches in food processor or blender until smooth. Do this in SMALL batches!!! (The pressure builds up in the blender from the steam. If you get the blender too full, the lid will blow off. Messy and HOT!!) Add cream; heat just until thoroughly warm. Serve immediately.
This can be made ahead and kept in Crockpot on warm for a party. Will hold on warm all day.