Potato and Carrot Soup garnished with a few memories

It’s still cold and icy, so it’s time for comfort soup. In this house, that probably means potatoes and usually soup. There’s both a shrimp and a vegan version!

It’s been cold and icy, and February arrived this week reminding us that even though the sunlight is slowing returning, we are still sitting firmly in winter. Although we were predicted to get a couple of feet of snow, we ended up with a couple of inches of ice over two days, encasing the trees and making life far more difficult than the snow would have. But there was beauty too. The branches of the lilacs outside my sun porch were encased in little prisms of ice, reflecting all the colors and keeping the photographer in me frustrated because it was impossible to record as we saw it.

The prisms of ice reflected a thousand colors that did not show up in photographic translation. But they were striking, and memorable, and for two days a lovely accent to cold February days!

Root vegetables are comfort food around here, this time of year, whether by themselves in all their wonderful ways, or supporting actor in soups, stews, casseroles, etc. If I pop a tray of potatoes in the roasting oven, you know I’m probably in need of something I love for dinner.

The basics

When I was a kid, potatoes and carrots were at the heart of so many dishes, served round our table with relatives and friends. They were cheap to grow, easy to store, and always in the house. Still are. Nothing fancy, but they were the important, and to me the best back-up in a stew or soup. As a side dish, my mom would simply mash the two together, with a lot of butter, salt, and pepper, and I always loved that flavor. There was hardly anything to it, but I loved it just the same, we all did. Maybe it was the butter!

So simple, and yet so satisfying, especially on a cold winter’s night. 

In this dish, I’ve combined those potatoes and carrots, added some garlic and a bit of tomato paste, and blended up half of it all to thicken the soup. The rest goes back in the pot. We didn’t have this as a kid, but we could have! It’s so simple, I don’t even think of it as a recipe.

I’ve used soy milk here, but you can also use any plant milk, dairy milk, or half-and-half. Mom would have used evaporated milk.

Vegan or use shrimp, your choice

This soup is equally delicious vegan using vegetable stock or just water, and there’s a shrimp version here if you want a different flavor and more protein. But still, its all about the humble but delectable potato and carrots! The shrimp is a little special addition, and the shrimp stock made from the shells adds a nice flavor. Wild, medium shrimp, 31 to 40 per pound, are a perfect size for this soup.

See, that didn’t take long! It’s steaming hot, and I’m serving it up with biscuits just like when I was a kid! Pull up a chair, there’s always room for one more.

Humble Potato and Carrot Soup

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp. butter or vegan butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • ¼  to  ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 lb. potatoes, chopped 
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, or water
  • 2 cups plant or dairy milk or light cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

            Heat a large stock pot over medium high and add the oil and butter. When the butter stops foaming, add the onion and carrots. Sauté until the onions are soft and barely starting to brown on the edges. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and cayenne, and cook another 30 seconds, stirring.

            Add the potatoes and the stock or water. The potatoes should be almost covered. Add salt and pepper, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer until the vegetables are cooked.

            With a slotted spoon, remove half the vegetables to a bowl and set aside. Using an immersion or regular blender, puree the vegetables just until combined, don’t over-blend.  

            Return the vegetables to the pot along with the milk of choice, correct the seasoning, and heat just to where you want it.

Potato and Carrot Soup with Shrimp

For this version, use a pound of wild 31-40 shrimp.

 Peel and devein the shrimp. Season the shrimp and place in the refrigerator until needed. Place the shrimp shells in a pot with a quart of water, a bay leaf, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes. Strain. Use this as your stock in the soup.

After you puree half the veggies, add the shrimp along with the chunky vegetables and cook for a few minutes until the shrimp are pink and tender. Add the milk, and heat to the temperature you like.

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47 Comments Add yours

  1. Perfect for this cold and snowy winter!

    1. It has been cold! I was telling my husband this morning that this has felt like the coldest winter in the 25 years we’ve lived here! So many days below zero.

  2. Yummy soup combo! Will definitely make this soon.

    1. Thank you! It is a simple but lovely combination!

  3. That looks so cosy delicious 😍

    1. Thank you! It was really delicious and comfort-food satisfying.

  4. The soup sounds so tasty. I feel warm inside, just by looking at the photos! 🙂

    1. Thank you Ronit! We certainly need warmth this winter where we are!

      1. I can empathize, as I remember these cold Vermont days vividly! Hang in there! 🙂

      2. Spring will be here before we know it!

      3. No doubt! 🙂

  5. Drunken Chef says:

    I love this article you wrote. It not just the recipe that both sounds tasty and looks delicious but the incite into your childhood memories that help warm me up on a cold winters day. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Ah! Thanks so much Drunken Chef! I like to add a bit about where the recipe comes from in my life experience, and sometimes how it evolves over time. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. CarolCooks2 says:

    Even though its hot here we still eat soup and something as basic as this is my kind of soup and with some lovely croutons and a few prawns it takes it up a notch ..just perfect …

    1. Thank you Carol! Simple and really tasty, whether it is hot or cold outside!

  7. Ally Bean says:

    This is lovely, the memories and the recipes. Tasty soup, picture perfect. Thanks

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ally! Glad you liked the memories and recipes.

  8. writinstuff says:

    I’m warm just thinking about making this soup!

    1. I’m so glad we were able to warm you up. It is another cold day here!

  9. Oh, wow, that soup looks delicious. It’s a cold and damp day today so that would sure taste good for dinner.

    1. Thanks Judy! It was most satisfying!

  10. Bernadette says:

    Dorothy, I never thought of making shrimp soup this way but you better believe it will be on the menu for next week. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I’m so glad you like the recipe Bernadette! I’m sure you will love this one!

  11. Nothing beats a warming potato and carrots soup! Potato and carrots are my absolute favorite ingredients 😋 humble, but super delicious and aways versatile 😉

    1. So simple, and so satisfying in so many ways!

  12. Nancy says:

    Mmmm! Mmmmm! This warmed me up. and I also love hearing about your Mom’s dishes as well.
    Have a beautiful week my friend!

    1. Thanks Nancy! I like putting a little twist here and there on the foods I grew up with. Honor the past, and look to the future!

      1. Nancy says:

        Well said Dorothy!

  13. Christy B says:

    I’ve only had carrot soup once in my life but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Wonderful recipe here for a cold February day!

    1. Thanks Christy! We need all the warmth we can get right now.

  14. Sowmya says:

    The soup looks heart warming and delicious Dorothy. Perfect for this wintery weather

    1. Thanks so much Sowmya, it was warming indeed!

  15. This sounds delicious, Dorothy. I love root vegetables and shrimp too.

    1. Thank you! It was a lovely combination.

  16. Amanda says:

    Yum the shrimp version you could serve me anytime!

    1. I’ll let you know when I make it again! 😃

  17. terrie gura says:

    I can’t stop staring at the loveliness of those icy twigs outside your window…
    Definitely soup weather, and I’d take a big ole bowl of this humble comfort food any day!

  18. nancyc says:

    I love the idea of making a soup with potatoes and carrots—what a great soup for winter days!

  19. Aoc says:

    I am certainly inspired to enjoy a hot bowl of your soup trying out your recipe. Happy Thursday!

    1. Thank you so much! It will warm the body and soul!

  20. My kids used to love potato soup when they were tots. I haven’t made it for years.

    1. Maybe it’s time to dust that recipe off!

      1. I don’t know why I ever stopped making it.

  21. petespringerauthor says:

    Potato and carrot soup with shrimp would be perfect here (northern California) today. There is a cold wind blowing and a definite nip in the air.

    1. It would warm you up nicely!

  22. Judee says:

    Another wonderful looking soup recipe. It sounds so hearty and healthy. I’ll take it without the shrimp- thanks.

    1. Thank you Judee! It brings back lots of memories for me, and that’s the best part!

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