Deborah Madison's Ivory Carrot Soup with a Fine Dice of Orange Carrots

Deborah Madison's Ivory Carrot Soup with a Fine Dice of Orange Carrots

[Photograph: Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton]

I am a big fan of rainbow carrots, so I'm no stranger to surprisingly stark white carrots. Yet Deborah Madison's Ivory Carrot Soup from her new cookbook Vegetable Literacy was still a bit of a mind game for me. The finished soup tasted purely of carrot, but my eyes were convinced that I was slurping down potato-leek or some kind of parsnip concoction. Served with a warm slice of buttered bread, this soup is the perfect winter-spring transition meal.

Why I picked this recipe: Carrots are sweet enough to seem like a spring vegetable, but easy to find even before the first asparagus breaks the ground.

What worked: Elegant and striking, this carrot soup would have been the perfect tricky dish to serve on April Fool's.

What didn't: I'm not sure what the benefit was to heating 3 cups of broth while simmering the carrots with 1 cup. Next time, I'll just add it all at once. I'd also probably drop the sugar next time; carrots are sweet enough on their own.

Suggested tweaks: The recipe will, of course, work with any color carrots you've got. I used vegetable stock instead of water or chicken broth--all three would work fine.

Reprinted with permission from Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Familes from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes by Deborah Madison. Copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

  • Yield:serves 4 to 6
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:40 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound white carrots, scrubbed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon raw white rice
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 4 cups water or light chicken stock
  • Few tablespoons finely diced orange carrots and/or other colored carrots
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • About 1 tablespoon minced fine green carrot tops


  1. 1.

    Warm the butter and oil in a soup pot and add the onion, white carrots, rice, 1 teaspoon salt, and the sugar and thyme. Cook over medium heat for several minutes, turning everything occasionally. Add 1 cup of the water, cover, turn down the heat, and cook while you heat the remaining 3 cups water. When the water is hot, add it to the pot, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

  2. 2.

    While the soup is cooking, cook the diced carrots in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes and then drain.

  3. 3.

    When ready, let cool slightly, then remove and discard the thyme sprig. Puree the soup until smooth in a blender. Taste for salt and season with the pepper. Reheat if it has cooled.

  4. 4.

    Ladle the soup into bowls, scatter the diced carrots and carrot tops over each serving, and serve.