This carrot and bacon soup recipe is an easy way to get your family to eat their vegetables. Combining the sweetness of carrots with the smokiness of bacon, it’s a perfect comforting soup on chilly autumn nights.
Carrots are one of those things I always seem to have in the crisper. I buy the huge 5 lb. bag with the intent of cutting most of them into carrot sticks for healthy snacking through the week. In reality, I get home from the store and am exhausted by the time I put everything away. So that bag used to just sit there, growing hairy, an orange reminder of my good intentions gone awry.
Then I came up with this soup.
It was born of desperation one night when heavy snow made the drive home from my husband’s chemo treatment take close to three hours, and the instant I walked in the door I realized I’d forgotten to turn on the crockpot before we left that morning. We were all so hungry, but there was no way I was driving those treacherous roads again so I started rummaging around in the fridge.
Well, in addition to carrots, another thing we almost always have in the refrigerator is bacon. I’d already decided to make carrot soup, but since bacon makes everything better, I figured I’d try combining the two. The result was a wonderful combination of sweet and salty, smooth and crunchy, that has since become a family favorite.
It’s a comforting soup, too — creamy soups always are. And, while it keeps well in the refrigerator, it separates on freezing so you either need to put up with that or re-blend it after defrosting. Of course, then you’ll want to garnish with more bacon but, hey, more bacon is a good thing!
Carrot and Bacon Soup Recipe
Step 1: Dice and fry bacon.
Start by dicing the bacon. If you’ve got the time, freezing it for 10 minutes before dicing makes it super easy to get even pieces. No patience for such things? Then be sure to use a very sharp knife so you don’t tear the bacon as you cut. Depending on the size of your pan you might need to fry it in batches, transferring each bath to a plate lined with paper towels so it can drain while you cook the rest.
Step 2: Prep your vegetables.
Carrots and potatoes cook about the same speed, so peel then chop them into uniformly sized pieces. (Save and use those peels!) I go for 1/2-inch cubes because I find they blend quickly — any larger and it takes longer to get a silky smooth soup. Onions, on the other hand, blend best when they’re finely diced. Add thyme to the pot by stripping the leaves off the stems with your fingertips, but hold off on other seasonings for now.
Step 3: Add stock and bring to a boil.
Add the chopped vegetables, chicken stock, and half of the bacon to a stock pot. Cover with a lid, and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue simmering until the vegetables are so soft they fall apart when you try piercing them with a fork.
Step 4: Blend, blend, blend.
I use an immersion blender to get a creamy, smooth soup right in my stainless steel soup pot. If you don’t have an immersion blender or cook with nonstick pots and pans you’ll want to work in batches using a blender or food processor at this point. For those using a blender, remember to only fill the blender halfway then pop the circular plug out of the lid and hold a towel over the hole to let steam escape as you blend the soup. Transfer each blended batch to another pot then stir and season to taste.
Step 4: Garnish and serve.
Ladle soup into serving bowls then chop the remaining cooked bacon and sprinkle it on. For added garnish, dollop with sour cream or Greek yogurt, croutons, shaved Parmesan cheese or snipped chives. Served with a crusty loaf of bread or homemade pita wedges, it’s a complete meal!
Carrot and Bacon Soup
- Large stockpot
- Slotted spoon
- Food processor, blender, or immersion blender
- 6 slices smoked bacon chopped
- 6 carrots peeled and chopped
- 4 potatoes peeled and diced
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or ½ tsp. dried thyme
- Salt to taste
- Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt optional
- Croutons, pepitas, or chopped herbs for topping optional
- Cook the chopped bacon in the bottom of a large stockpot until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, set aside, and drain all but 1 tbsp. of oil.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, onions, chicken stock, thyme, and half of the bacon to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes until vegetables are soft.
- Transfer the contents of the stockpot in batches to the food processor or blender. If using a blender, remove the round insert from the lid to allow steam to escape but lightly hold a towel over the hole to keep the contents from splattering out. Blend until smooth.
- Remove the stockpot from the burner and insert the immersion blender. Continue blending until smooth.
- Serve sprinkled with the remaining bacon, croutons, and a dollop of sour cream.
Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret: my husband has sworn for years that he can’t stand cooked carrots, so he assumed I must have made this with sweet potatoes (which does sound kind of good, come to think of it). I finally shared the truth with him after he’d finished his second bowl. He still loves it!