Carrot and Rice Soup

30 November 2013

Carrot and rice soup

When I read soup recipes they are often full of cream and I try to avoid cooking with cream, wonderful unctuous stuff that it is, on account of its asthma inducing qualities.

So I was very pleased to figure out that if one includes a small quantity of rice in a soup that this gives a smooth textural quality to the soup, which if not exactly creamy, certainly comes somewhere near.

I am not anti-dairy, just this specific bit of dairy, namely fresh cream and milk. Fermented milks and creams seem to get round the asthma thing just fine. Hence my love of creme fraiche, and kefir and yoghurt and of course butter!

Carrot and Rice Soup –  a winter’s dish for someone who is under the weather made by someone who had an excess of carrots building up in the vegetable department.

  • 10 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter melted
  • 600-900 ml vegetable stock (about a pint to a pint and a half) – I use Marigold reduced salt vegan stock powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 tbsp rice (about 40 grams)
  • 2 tbsps of lemon juice or Japanese Yuzu dressing (optional)
  • Garnish with chopped parsley or other herbs

carrot and rice soup Method

  1. Peel and slice onion and carrots.
  2. Sweat in melted butter over a low to medium heat till beginning to get soft but don’t let them brown if you can – about ten minutes.
  3. Stir frequently and add a little water if you think the vegetables are catching on the bottom of the pan. It helps if you put the lid on as this keeps the steam in the pan.
  4. Add the vegetable stock and rice and stir well, put the lid back on and cook for about twenty minutes.
  5. I removed some of the vegetables at this point and then return them to the soup at the end as I like texture, but this is up to you. I take out about a halfpint jug’s worth of veggies.
  6. Blend with a wand on in a food processor.
  7. Add back the reserved vegetables if you did.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper and reheat gently.
  9. Garnish and serve with any good bread that you like.

I garnished our soup with chopped Mustard Red Frills, a lovely and easy to grow salad green which has little yellow flowers, and is a prolific self-seeder. It is still doing its thing in the garden, even at the end of November and I found some curly parsley that is hanging on in there.

I also added some Yuzu Japanese citrus dressing which brightens up the taste of the carrots, but you can of course use lemon juice – I only have this exotic sounding dressing because it waved at me one day in the supermarket…. Other options are to swirl a little thick yoghurt in at the end, or indeed a drool of  cream if that is the way you roll.

What soups do you make for comfort food? I like this one and I like pea and ham, leek and potato, and I am working up to making Chinese congee, but need to find some broken Thai rice I think….

41 thoughts on “Carrot and Rice Soup

  1. cecilia

    Morning darling! This is just the kind of hearty fullsome soup that my husband loves for lunch. As soon as I can get to the markets again, I will make it. And excellent idea. Thank you. c

    1. Joanna Post author

      We tried carrot growing once, but we are not very good at them.Through the winter we get a box from an organic farm just outside the city, it always has onions, carrots and potatoes and then five other different veggies each week. We are getting lots of different squash at the moment. Quite nice to be surprised each week ! i hope you enjoy the soup Celi x

  2. heidiannie

    Honestly, I’ve never met a soup I didn’t like. This one is really pretty as well as sounding delicious!
    My favorite soup is probably Thai Chicken soup made with coconut milk, ginger, lemongrass and just a bit of curry for flavoring (along with chicken, of course, and bamboo shoots.)
    “Is Brian feeling poorly?” she asks, sipping her ginger and lemon tea and commiserating.
    Sending love and good wishes.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hello Heidi. Your Thai soup sounds delicious, a meal in itself! Yes. he is poorly and has a sore head and is growing what look suspiciously like a beard, shhhh…. he’s asleep :) I will pass on your love xx

  3. sallybr

    Joanna, your soup made me think of a carrot soup I used to make twenty years ago and loved it so much, but have not made ever since. It also calls for rice as a thickener, I have to see if I can find the recipe to compare with yours.

    I will be definitely re-visiting this type of soup, I am not fond of cream because to me it is almost like “cheating” – using a rich ingredient to make a soup taste luscious, when it’s absolutely not needed, if prepared right.

    Nice post!

    1. Joanna Post author

      That would be interesting to see Sally – I hadn’t thought about it as cheating or not to be honest. If Brian makes soup he always uses lots of potato and that has a way of going gluey that I am not so keen. I am just trying to find alternatives, treading well worn paths, I doubt there are many new soups out there :)

  4. Misky

    I’m looking forward to buying a fistful of carrots and making this soup. We’re eating a lot of soup lately – change of weather brings on my urge to make and eat it, I think. I made butternut squash soup the other day with great success. He-who-slurps said “YUM!”

      1. Misky

        Sounds good to me, Joanna. I added nutmeg to my butternut soup this time. Very nice spice with the flavour of squash.

  5. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    I love the look and sound of this! The rice thickener is a nice idea, I don’t like to use cream either. Chinese congee, as we made it at home, was dead simple, just ordinary rice (we use long grain), boiled in heaps of water or stock until it softened and split. Our style (Hokkien/Teochew) never involves cooking it into mush like the Cantonese ones do.

  6. maree

    Hi Joanna,
    Lovelly looking soup…I can almost taste it. I love soup. Its got to be one of the best things about winter.
    A few years ago I was tramping with a group of friends in the South Island. We reached the summit of the pass we were traversing and stopped for a break in a small mountain hut. An elderly couple (70+), were there before us and had made themselves a “billy” of instant chicken noodle soup. They very kindly shared the tail end of it with us…we drank straight out of the pot (Mum would have been disgusted with me)…it was one of the best things that I have ever tasted!! The couple told us that their billy can had travelled with them on tramps all round the world, Africa, Australia, Italy etc. it was battered and black with use and added to the flavour.
    I hope Brian feels better soon. Take care. XX

    1. Joanna Post author

      Soup in the right place at the right time! What a lovely story Maree, hope you are enjoying your summer right now ! xx

      1. maree

        Thankyou yes. Summer is still quite early but you can still get a nasty burn if you are not careful. In the last two days we have had a bit of rain, which was needed as I have been having to water the veg each night for the last month. I have had a great crop of beetroot…at the moment I am making a chutney with some, for Christmas lunch. The house smells of vinegar, lemon, ginger, cinnamon and corriander..yum.
        Stay warm. XX

        1. Joanna Post author

          Love the sound and virtual smells wafting from your direction – big beetroot fans here :) xx

  7. ardysez

    Lovely photo. I have just recently heard this about adding rice to thicken soup, from one of Britain’s home grown chefs, Jamie Oliver! Best to you and Brian.

    1. Joanna Post author

      It is probably standard practice in rice growing countries like Italy in Europe and everywhere in the East where rice grows. I guess I was using it to get a creamy texture rather than specifically to thicken it. We had been eating congee one day when we went out for dim sum and I was struck by its texture, that is the one I am working up to as it takes a lot longer than this little soup:)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I asked B if he liked parsnip soup and he said he had never had it… so I might have to rustle some up – good idea Tom xx

  8. hotlyspiced

    I love the colour of this soup and how you presented it in such a pretty bowl. And the scattering of colour on the top is gorgeous xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thankyou! I was looking at carrot soup pictures and in cook books they are all very orange, whereas mine come out sort of golden, I wonder if the pics in the books are altered or whether other people’s carrots are more orange than mine when they turn into soup. I love that red mustard leaf, and was thrilled to find it still flowering busily away at 6 C )

  9. Ann

    I used to dislike soup – too much school Brown Windsor ie dishwater. Now I love it, though we are coming out of soup weather. Leek and zucchini is a nice one and can be served cold too which is useful.
    Hope Brian is feeling better. Beard …..?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Temporary Paul Hollywood/beard like my Dad thing going on, makes him look taller :) I don’t remember soup at school ever, but maybe it happened and I have blanked it. I like the idea of leek and zucchini, sounds like a very useful soup to have tucked away!

    1. Joanna Post author

      You are welcome, have to tackle the squash mountain in the veg box next, roast squash, gnocchi maybe, Misky’s soup sounds good too :)

  10. Jan

    Hello Joanna, the soup does look wonderfully golden. I’m not fond of cream enriched soups so the rice route will be good to try. When we have colds or are generally not quite ticketyboo, I make chicken soup which includes ginger , garlic, turmeric, chilli and lemon – all in sufficient quantity to make any self respecting germ sling it’s hook. It also guarantees that for several days you’ll reek of garlic enough to make vampires’ eyes water! I hope Brian is feeling better – was it a beard-growing bug – nasty things those.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Ah yes chicken soup! Do you make Celia’s lovely one with the poached chicken? That is one of my all time favourites. I also have a tea which is made of ginger, galingal, golden turmeric, from Pukka Teas, do you get that brand down under, it is very good for colds and miseries. His beard growing bug is getting better slowly, though the beard is now a week old and he is looking rather debonair :)

  11. Sincerely, Emily

    What a wonderful looking soup. And nice for a brisk cool day (and for someone under the weather too). Your photos is beautiful, mouth watering actually! I completely forgot to plant carrots! dang. Might have to still do that!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thank you ! Sometimes the simplest foods are the ones that make us happiest :) Our days are short and cool right now and we eat a lot more soup in the winter months. I think I have only tried to grow carrots once and they got carrot fly and they didn’t do very well, ditto that root parsley, I think my soil is too clay for carrots possibly ?

  12. Sincerely, Emily

    Our soil is clay and rock so we built raised beds, even then, they were not high enough and carrots grew short and funky looking so last fall I starter added to the height in hopes of growing great root things…… hmmm still haven’t planted any yet (other than turnips)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Sand and well rotted organic material is what needs to go in your bed by all accounts. I think it is sandy fine soil that carrots are supposed to like and they are very fussy about temperature for germination. Our few carrots came out with short roots and forked because of the stones and pebbles and lumpy clay too. I don’t really have that much space, so tend these days to try and grow stuff that is fun and that works. Have you ever tried growing oca Emily? It’s quite fun and very pest resistant, though the yields aren’t large. I once remember watching a programme on tv about people who grew giant carrots for shows, competitively, and they grew them in long tubes, like drainpipes, so the carrot would grow long and straight… very complicated!

      1. Sincerely, Emily

        No, never tried oca (ocha) but it might be worth trying. When I build my beds I added great composted horse manure, leave mulch, good garden dirt and mulch and I just keep adding more and more. I just need to finish filling up a few of the beds, but it turns out those higher edges are a great protection against the freezing temps we have been having. Then I still have winter things growing when it is time to plant spring and start mixing in the spring things that I haven’t had empty beds to get more material in there. Some day. So many wonderful things out there right now. Broccoli, kale, spinach, lettuce, onion, chard, cabbage, celery leaf. I just love the winter garden!

        1. Joanna Post author

          Wow! Your winter vegetable collection sounds simply amazing! And your no dig beds and their layers of goodness too! Our tumbling down raised bed at present contains my seed raised Italian fennel which I have earthed up, some struggling Italian chicory, a variety called puntarelle, which has hollow stems and some chard. I dont have a lot going on there but we put in lots of spring flowering bulbs this year and spread mulch everywhere of various sorts, some bought, some precious home made leaf mould, and all sorts with help from a lovely gardener who came and got us going again where we had lost our way a bit. Our garden is large for a town garden, but small by comparison with people who live out of a city. Every year I fantasize about a bigger growing space. I still harvested the oca a bit early this year, always something to learn, one of the great things about growing. Here comes the solstice sun, pulling over next doors fence and about to light up my room! Happy Solistice to you Emily!

  13. narf77

    I am SO up for a big bowl of this unctuous gorgeousness right now with the dreaded “C” word looming fast on the horizon, no tree up, NO idea what I am cooking let alone eating on the “C” day and the need for comforting food more important than the need to laze around in the sun watching the weeds grow. This soup is calling me from a deep primal part of my soul. I LOVE mush. Mush is my ultimate comforting food, congee is heavenly, overcooked pasta? YUM! You have handed me back a little bit of sanity for today ma’am. I shall be grateful to reach this evening so that I can sample a bowl of this peace in a pot and call myself replete and happy for another day :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      You are safe with me, no C word here, no plans as yet either. So tell you what if neither of us have figured out what we are doing by 24 Dec, then we can just eat soup and make kale crisps together and maybe eat chocolate cake, how does that sound ? Congee is heavenly overcooked rice not pasta. We eat it when we go out for dim sum, it comes with bits of ambigous animal in it, and preserved eggs, and I squirt it with hot sauce and soya, I am that sort of a person and slurp it down.

      1. narf77

        I meant I love congee (which I make myself and adore) AND pasta mush…and anything else mushy like mashed spuds and mushy peas :). I think your idea of eating soup, kale crisps and chocolate cake is probably the best “C” food ever. No fuss, everything would taste delicious and you could have an elegant sufficiency without having to put our glasses on and follow Gordon Ramsey showing us how to make something…can’t STAND Gordon Ramsey!!!

        1. Joanna Post author

          Ah well you are ahead of me, I have yet to make congee, though I have been getting instructions on the various styles, what sort do you do? :)

          1. narf77

            I am a great fan of Korean Juk. I don’t throw lots of seafood and meat in like they do but I like to eat pumpkin Juk for breakfast and pine nut Juk is heavenly but expensive to make. There is something incredibly soothing about savoury rice mush…nursery food methinks :).

            1. Joanna Post author

              I don’t think I have ever had Korean food, will have to look it up, have a good week Fran, all that mowing :) xx

  14. Karin Anderson

    When I read the headline with the rice, at first I thought “Meh”, but the soup looks lovely, and a bit less fat in this calorie leaden time of the year isn’t bad either.
    My favorite winter soup is a hearty pea soup made with split green peas and frozen peas.

    1. Joanna Post author

      It is just a basic soup I guess. Our current favourite soup is one made with a home made roast red pepper paste, onions, tomatoes and rice, bulgar and red lentils, seasoned with cumin and chilli and paprika. Pea soup is pretty good as well! Sorry not to be blogging more but my heart isn’t in it right now. Hope you are well and all best wishes from me for the holiday season x Jo

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