Sweet & Smoky Carrot Soup


It’s January, it’s cold, soup is warm. Soup is also typically really easy to cook, and very filling, making it pretty much the perfect food. Seriously, there was a time when ‘Soup and a Sandwich’ was the go-to lunch and dinner for me and Beth. In all honesty, it probably still would be if I wasn’t so fussy about the sandwiches I want to pair with mine…

Anyway, this is a soup that just says ‘autumn’ to me. Some day I’ll cook a vat of this nectar to enjoy from a mug while taking in a fireworks show. But until then, I’m more than happy to simply enjoy it from a bowl while endlessly scrolling Netflix because honestly when do you stop scrolling?

Autumn though, yes. It’s the mix of the sweet Root Veg with those slightly smoky notes that’s probably what I imagine a bonfire to taste like, but I’m too much of a coward to go and lick the fire. Then all of that is supported by warmth from the Ginger and Chilli that acts as the big cosy blanket elevating this soup to a level of ‘comforting’ that even the hardiest of broths can only dream of reaching!

I like it, is what I’m saying. It’s nice. On with the recipe.

Time: 10 mins prep (there are a lot of carrots)

45 mins cooking (though a chunk of that is just leaving it to bubble)

Servings: 4-6, depending on appetites


  • 750g of Carrots. Wonky or straight, doesn’t matter, just get ’em chopped. Peel if that’s your preference, I leave the skin on
  • 1 large Red Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of Garlic (ideally smoked, but normal stuff is fine I guess). Crushed and chopped
  • 1 Chilli, also chopped up. Deseeded – you’re after warmth, not heat
  • A thumb-sized piece of Ginger (my thumb (it’s a pretty average thumb)) peeled and grated
  • Squeeze of Tomato Puree
  • 3 teaspoons of Smoked Paprika
  • 3 tablespoons of Maple Syrup or Honey
  • A Bay leaf
  • 2 1/2 litres of your finest Veg Stock (recipe coming soon)
  • 2 tablespoons of Oil or Butter for frying, depending on decadence
  • Salt and Pepper


1. As I’m sure you’re hoping for from soup, this isn’t a hard recipe to get into (after you’ve exhausted your arm with all that chopping, of course). Start with your Oil/Butter, get that warmed on a low heat before cascading the onions in along with a generous shower of salt. Leave that for 5-10 minutes, aiming for translucency by way of a slight caramalisation.

2. Once your onions have been relaxing for long enough, ruin their alone time by adding the Garlic, Ginger and Chilli. Bring the heat up slightly and let that get fragrant for a minute.

3. Time to really get things moving. Add all of your Carrots, a generous splodge of Tomato Puree, the Smoked Paprika and Maple Syrup/Honey, then give everything a Big Stir. let this mix fry for a few minutes to char ever so slightly.

4. After that time has passed, get all of your Veg Stock involved along with the Bay Leaf. Trust the Bay Leaf. Bring your full pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

5. Leave the soup to bubble away, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes depending on how hungry you are/how much longer it took you to chop all of those carrots than you estimated.

6. Once the broth has been simmering for long enough, fish out the Bay Leaf and then blend it into a smooth soup with whatever implement/gadget you have. An immersion blender will work just fine, it’s what I’ve been using to make soup for a long time.

7. Taste and season as necessary with salt and pepper before ladling into bowls and settling down for a cosy dinner.

First thing first, this soup pairs brilliantly with the Meaty Mushroom Sammiches I posted earlier this week. This is why I chose to add this soup now, despite it being the third thing with an emphasis on smoky-yet-sweet flavourings I’ve put up this week (I promise the variety is coming!).

If you’d prefer the soup to err more on the sweet side, a few good tweaks might be to replace the Onions with Leeks, and to remove or reduce the smoky ingredients. This recipe is based on the Honeyed Carrot Soup on Good Food, so you might want to take a look at that if you like the concept, but feel that something here doesn’t sound like it matches your particular palette.

Third thing third, and as my last note on this recipe (and veg soup making in general), a good Vegetable Stock goes a long way. Early attempts at this soup, following the Good Food recipe linked above, were fine but the Carrot can get overpowering if you don’t balance it with a solid Stock, and you don’t really want a bowl of carrot juice for dinner. Early attempts were in my meaty days however and I think the Bacon Butty it was typically paired with was doing a lot of the lifting, whereas nowadays, I’d happily glug a bowl of this soup without accompaniment given how much I enjoy it.

And there you have it, likely the first of many soupy times that will appear on this blog. This is one of my favourite winter warmers, so I truly hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


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