This is one of those recipes that I basically know by heart. It has just a handful of ingredients, but the final result is much more than the sum of its parts. The recipe comes from the original Silver Palate cookbook (which is acookbook that seems a little dated if you read it now, but almost every recipe that I make from it is a winner).
The combination of carrot and orange is somewhat unusual, but it really works: the carrots make for a hearty-tasting soup, but the citrus brightens everything up and makes it more elegant. This soup also tastes really rich, even though I only use a couple of tablespoons of butter for a large batch. The trick is to start by sauteeing the onion and the butter over low heat for 15-20 minutes, covered.
You can't really taste the onion in the finished soup, but it rounds out the flavor and gives the soup a savory backbone. This is a great soup for a first course or for a light dinner (just add bread and a salad). And it's so easy to make. You can even use baby carrots in place of chopped carrots (just add a little cooking time to make sure they cook all the way through). If you have an orange on hand then fresh juice and zest works great, but I regularly make this by just adding a cup of OJ from the carton.
Carrot Orange Soup
adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook
2 Tb. unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 to 2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock is fine)
1 cup orange juice
orange zest (optional)
salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add the onions, cover, and cook over low heat until very tender, 15-20 minutes. Add carrots and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, adn simmer until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes. Puree using an immersion blender (or in a regular blender or food processor). Add orange juice and some zest, taste, and add more zest and/or salt and pepper as needed.