Here’s a question for you – what makes something a bisque as opposed to a soup? I don’t know the answer, I am just throwing it out there for discussion. Is it the cream you add at the end? Is it just a fancy name that makes it sound better than plain old soup? It’s like one of those old logic games – how can all bisques be soups but not all soups are bisques? Regardless, last week was definitely a soup (bisque) week in our house. We had some wet, dreary weather which required soup (bisque), followed by some sunny frigid weather which, of course, required soup (bisque). I believe that at one point, we had three different kinds of soup (two non-bisque and one bisque) on the go. They were all good, but this is the only one I managed to get pictures of, so it’s the one I am sharing with you now.
This is something of a hybrid recipe, a combination of two old favourites. I had an open can of pumpkin puree in the fridge from another recipe and was wondering how to use it before it went bad. Of course I thought of sweets and baked goods, but seeing as it was soup weather, it put me in mind of something I used to eat regularly when I was a working girl. I was usually good about bringing my lunch from home to save money, but on occasion, I would treat myself to a meal from the local Au Bon Pain. Their Harvest Pumpkin soup was one of my favourites and I would eat that and a bread stick and be well satisfied. I recreated the soup a few times at home but hadn’t made it in years. But as I didn’t even have full can of pumpkin to work with, it would only make a paltry bit of soup, hardly worth the effort. I needed some way to extend it into a full family meal.
In my collection of recipes, there is one from my mother called “Currie Carrot Bisque”. That isn’t a typo, by the way, it’s actually a tongue-in-cheek reference to my maiden name. I come from such clever stock, don’t I? Yes, my maiden name, although spelled slightly differently, is the same as that wonderful blend of flavours from India. Go ahead and make the requisite spice joke, I’ve heard it all before. Anyway, thinking about the pumpkin soup put me in mind of the carrot soup, and I instantly saw how beautifully these would go together. The spices are very similar, and I just so happened to have a big bag of carrots in the fridge.
The Results: Whatever you choose to call this, soup or bisque, it’s very good and a great way to cheer up dreary weather. The pumpkin doesn’t really stand out, but it does add a nice extra thickness to the bisque. The curry adds some heat, as does the dash of cayenned I threw in at the end, and the ginger is a great complement to the vegetables. We had this alongside some sausages, and it made for a very satisfying dinner. And all the veggies we needed were contained in one bowl. That’s a whole wackload of beta-carotene for you, in case you needed to see in the dark.
Neither carrots nor pumpkin are really very low carb, so this isn’t my lowest carb soup. But it’s not awfully high carb either, so if you eat in moderation, I think it’s a great fit into any diet. And the flavours are so wonderful, it’s very satisfying and warms you down to your toes.
Curried Carrot Pumpkin Bisque
2 tbsp butter
1 lb carrots, washed, peeled and sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne
6 cups chicken stock
1 14-oz can pumpkin puree (I used a little less than a full can, but the full can would be fine)
1/3 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large, heavy stockpot, heat butter over medium heat until melted. Add in carrots, onion, garlic, curry powder, ginger and cayenne. Saute until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover pot and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
Stir in pumpkin. Transfer in batches to a blender or use an immersion blender to process until smooth. Return to heat and add cream and salt and pepper. Garnish with grated carrot.
Serves 8-10. For 8 servings, each serving has 11.7 g of carbs and 3.7 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 8 g.