Vegetable soups are among my favorite things to make. They're easy to improvise, and a great way to showcase whatever is in season. This is a simple recipe that works year-round, but it's especially good when carrots are just coming into season. Caramelized ramp chips add a unique touch. If you don't want to use the milk, add more water to thin the soup if necessary. —Merrill Stubbs
- Serves 6 to 8
finely chopped onion
large carrots, peeled and chopped
celery stalk, chopped
large ramp bulbs, thinly sliced
roughly chopped fresh dill
freshly ground black pepper
- Warm 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, stir and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, nutmeg and a large pinch of salt and cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the celery and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Add 3 cups of water, stir and increase the heat. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat so that the soup is just simmering. Cook for about 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Use a food processor to partially purée half the soup with 1/2 cup of the milk, keeping some texture. Put the other half of the soup in a blender with the rest of the milk and blend until completely smooth. If you prefer, you can pass the soup through a food mill or simply mash everything up with a spoon or a potato masher—you will end up with a chunkier soup, but it will still be delicious.
- When you’re ready to eat, make the ramp chips. Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons oil in a small frying pan over medium-low heat and add the sliced ramps. Cook, stirring frequently, until the ramps are crispy and brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the chips with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Stir the dill into the soup and reheat gently, adding more salt if necessary and some pepper. Serve the soup in warm bowls with a sprinkling of ramp chips on top.