The combination of carrot and saffron echo and complement one another in color, aroma, and taste for a very intriguing effect. The result is an elegant puree that serves well as a first course or a simple accompaniment to a protein-rich salad for lunch.
yield: 6-8 servings | prep time: 30 minutes | cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 2 pounds carrots
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 large yam or sweet potato
- 1½ cups chopped yellow onion
- 9 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
- 4 sprigs parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne
Trim and discard ends from the carrots, then peel the carrots and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Trim and discard ends and the strings from the celery, then cut them into 1-inch pieces as well. Peel and dice the sweet potato.
Place all of the chopped vegetables along with the stock or water in a 4-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the saffron, parsley, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are very tender, about 1 ¼ hours. Remove from the heat and cool.
Strain the solids from the soup, reserving the cooking liquid. In a food processor or blender, puree the cooked vegetables to a very smooth consistency.
Return the cooking liquid to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook briskly until it has reduced to about 6 cups. Whisk the pureed vegetables into the broth and warm thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve piping hot.
The soup may be prepared up to 5 days in advance if refrigerated in an airtight container. It also freezes well for up to a month.