Unlike a traditional carrot soup that’s mostly carrots, this one has lots of leeks and fennel in it – as well as garlic, ginger, coriander, and a bit of orange – to give it a complex, earthy flavor.

You can use an immersion blender to purée this soup, but I prefer using a countertop blender to really get a smooth texture; you’ll need to purée in two batches. After blending with a touch of cream, the soup will still be fairly thick, but I like to keep it that way as all the flavors are concentrated. If you wanted to thin it further, you could use any combination of cream (or coconut cream), water, or low-sodium chicken broth. Don’t forget the lemon juice at the end – it brightens all the flavors.

I like to garnish this soup with diced clementines or oranges and a few fennel fronds, but you could also drizzle it with a pesto, such as a Carrot Top Pesto, crispy ham or salami, or sliced chives or scallions. The soup is delicious cold as well.

I also encourage you to use this recipe as a template so that you can use it with other vegetables you want to move along. Cauliflower or butternut squash in place of the carrots would be excellent here. You could also replace the carrots with a summer vegetable, such as zucchini, but you’d want to reduce the liquids by about a third. Onions and celery could stand in for the leeks and fennel for a different flavor direction.

Serves 4 to 6 

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil of any kind
  • 2½ cups thinly sliced leeks
  • 2½ cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (from about 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, quartered, and cored before slicing)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 generous tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1½ tablespoons finely chopped ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 pound carrots (without tops, but before trimming and peeling), trimmed, peeled, and very thinly sliced to yield about 12½ ounces or about 3¼ cups
  • 2½ cups low-sodium chicken broth plus 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup heavy cream or coconut milk
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Coarsely chopped fennel fronds
  • Diced orange or tangerine sections or other garnish, such as Carrot Top Pesto

1. In a medium Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the butter and oil over medium-low heat. Add the leeks, fennel, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and stir. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened (some will begin to brown), about 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the vegetables are very soft and lightly browned in spots, about another 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Add the garlic, ginger, and coriander and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the orange juice and stir.

3. Add the carrots, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 2½ cups chicken broth, and 1 cup water to the pot. Bring to a boil and lower to a gentle simmer. Be sure your soup is not boiling or the liquids will reduce too quickly. Cook until the carrots are tender (they don’t have to be falling apart), about 25 minutes.

4. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Transfer the soup in batches to a blender, dividing the solids and liquids evenly between the two batches. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and half of the heavy cream to each batch. Combine the two batches in a bowl and then return the puréed soup to the pot and rewarm. Taste for salt and acid; season with more of each if you like. (Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot.)

5. Serve right away, garnished with chopped orange segments and chopped fennel.