Bonjour à toutes et à tous!

Ah, the vibrant orange hues of carrots – nature’s little bundles of joy that brighten up our plates and our palates. C’est si bon! Today, we’re diving into the world of these versatile root vegetables, exploring their horticulture, French connection, rich history, and delicious roles in French cooking.

Carrot Cultivation and the French Terroir

Carrots, or “carottes” in French, thrive in the beautiful landscapes of France. The country’s varied climates, from the sunny regions of Provence to the fertile plains of Normandy, provide an ideal environment for carrot cultivation. It’s no wonder that France boasts some of the most flavorful and beautifully colored carrots on the planet.

A Glimpse into History

The history of the carrot is as colorful as its appearance. Originally cultivated in the Middle East over a thousand years ago, these delicious root vegetables eventually made their way to Europe. In France, carrots became a cherished ingredient, especially during the Renaissance. French farmers cultivated an array of colorful varieties, from deep purples to sunny yellows.

Carrots in French Cuisine: A Versatile Culinary Treasure

Now, let’s talk about the incredible role of carrots in French cooking. From humble beginnings, these root vegetables have earned a special place on the plates of gourmets and gourmands alike.

In traditional French cuisine, carrots are an essential ingredient in the classic mirepoix (known as “sofrito” in other cultures), a flavorful mix of onions, carrots, and celery that forms the base of many savory dishes. Their natural sweetness balances and enriches the flavors of countless recipes, including hearty stews, savory soups, and delectable sauces.

One classic French dish where carrots shine is “Boeuf Bourguignon.” In this comforting stew, carrots are slow-cooked to tender perfection, absorbing the rich flavors of the wine, herbs, and succulent beef. The result is a hearty, soul-warming dish that showcases the carrot’s versatility and charm.

In French cuisine, carrots also star in their own right, often steamed, glazed with butter, and sprinkled with fresh herbs. The result is a side dish that’s both elegant and simple, making them an excellent complement to a wide range of entrees.

And of course, this versatile veggie is also the star of our carrot soup recipe. This carrot soup is a a delicious starter, equally good hot or cold, and only requires five ingredients that you are sure to have on hand. Ready in a snap, this soup will equally impress weekend dinner guests or at weeknight family suppers.

Carrot soup – c’est si bon!

The carrot is a true culinary gem, and its journey through history and French cuisine is nothing short of inspiring. Whether you’re using them to enrich a stew, create a vibrant side dish, or simply enjoying them raw with a touch of vinaigrette, carrots have an enduring appeal. They’re a testament to the beauty of simplicity and the remarkable diversity of flavors in the world of French cuisine. N’est-ce pas? So, the next time you’re in the kitchen, embrace the incredible potential of carrots, and let their vibrant orange hues brighten your culinary adventures. Bon appétit!


A bientôt! Et bonne cuisine!

Soupe de carottes

Carrot soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine French
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 2 tbsp grated onion
  • 1 quart water
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Place the carrots, onion, and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and cook – partially covered – for 12 to 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
  • Skim the soup if necessary.
  • Remove from heat and purée using an immersion blender.
  • Add the cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Reheat until hot. Serve immediately.

Notes

This also makes a lovely chilled carrot soup. Rather than reheating after adding the cumin, chill the soup for 2 to 3 hours and serve.