Carrot Soup

By: Nick Stellino

Ingredients

1/4 pound of bacon cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion chopped
8 garlic cloves thickly sliced
2 pounds of carrots peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup of sherry, Port or Marsala
3/4 cup of sour cream
6 small bunches of fresh fennel cut into small pieces, used at garnish

Directions

  1. In a stockpot, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the bacon and cook until well brown, stirring well about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate linked with a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, thyme, and red pepper flakes to the pot and continue to cook over medium-high heat stirring well until the onion begins to soften, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the wine, bring to a boil and stir well to dislodge the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine is reduced by 1/2, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 40-45 minutes stirring well every 15 minutes.
  6. Add the soup, in batches, into a food processor and process it to smooth cream-like consistency. Place the soup back in the stock pot and keep warm.
  7. Serve the soup in bowls and decorate the top of each bowl with a light drizzle of sour cream, pieces of fresh fennel and pieces of browned bacon.
  8. Chef's Tip: For a more elegant finish, using a squirt bottle, decorate top of each bowl of soup with concentric circles of sour cream, then score it at equal intervals with the top of a paring knife's blade, moving from the outside circle inward, toward the inside circle. It will create a very elegant design.