Simple Carrot Soup

One of the things I love about French family cooking is the simplicity of the ingredients. Often, French dishes use only one main ingredient, and rely on simple but subtle preparation to bring out the flavors. As a result, the meals eaten by French families are often quick and easy to prepare.

Here’s one example: Simple Carrot Soup. One of the nice things about this soup is that the preparation time is literally only 5 minutes (although the soup will take another 15 minutes to cook). While the soup is cooking, you can set the table, slice bread, prepare a salad (or, if you’re like me, get distracted by whatever book you happen to be reading).

4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 lbs carrots
4 cups of water
salt to taste
1 tsp dried parsley and/or dill (optional)

Saute chopped onion at low temperature for at least 5 minutes, or until golden. (This is the secret of the soup! So don’t rush.)

Add carrots (I buy organic ones, and admit that I don’t even bother peeling them), raise the temperature to medium-high heat, and saute for 2 minutes.

Add water. Cook at a gentle rolling boil until carrots are soft (about 8 to 10 minutes). Remove from heat, add herbs, and puree until smooth. If you like a thinner soup, add more water until it’s just right.

My daughters like this served hot, with a small dollop of butter. I don’t salt this soup, as I find the sweet flavor of the carrots speaks for itself. If you do want salt, just sprinkle a bit on the soup once served in individual bowls; you’ll find that a little goes a long way.

Bon Appetit!

How to get a kid to eat her carrots

My younger daughter is almost 4, but getting her to eat her carrots is still sometimes a battle. She’ll eat most other vegetables–sweet peppers, broccoli, even olives–with gusto. But carrots are a little, well, challenging. Maybe it’s because her teeth came in very late, and she never really liked to chew as a baby?

For whatever reason, we sometimes have to come up with clever ways to get her to eat her raw carrots. Today, I tried the ‘crunch contest’. Each contestant sits at the table, and chooses a piece of carrot. The winner: whoever has the carrot that makes the loudest crunching sound. Thankfully, most carrots sound the same when crunched. So there is often disagreement about who won. This requires the game to be played repeatedly in order to determine who the winner is. Thus distracted, my daughter munched her way through 4 carrot slices today. Eureka!

How do you get your reluctant children to eat their vegetables?