Souper Tuesday: Creamy Carrot and Millet Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

No one in our house wanted to get up today. Even Rory, who lived up to his nickname by acting as our house rooster with his random yells and wall kicking. When I finally pulled on my robe and glasses and shuffled down the hall to him, he was lying on his back in the still-dark room with his feet propped up on the crib bars. He didn’t get up when I entered; he just looked at me as if to say “Can I help you with something?”

Eventually he got up. He was motivated, I suspect, but the opportunity to perform his routine to “Barnyard Dance.” It’s becoming something of an addiction. (I can’t imagine where he gets this inclination to turn everything into a performance.) However, he won’t do it without his partner, which means he started urgently yelling “Noah!” down the hall.

barnyard

It was to no avail.¬†Finally we had to go get Noah. His room was even darker than Rory’s. The quilt had fallen almost completely off his bed and was puddled on the floor except for one small square, under which Noah was balled-up, mumbling, “I’m still tired, go away.” On school days, it’s like I already have a teenager.

It was a sleepy day. A raincoat day. A puddle splashing day. An “I’m glad you pulled this Elmo DVD off the shelf at the library because I’m going to plop you in front of it while I chop onions” kind of day.

raincoats

File photo from a day the kids were actually awake. Best raincoats ever courtesy of Aunt Katie.

But it was a good day. Noah came home from school complaining about the smell of the chopped onions, but mellowed after a snack of grapes and Golden Grahams. Even better, he mercifully extended his mandatory 20 minute “quiet time” with a game called “cleaning service.” It’s the indoor version of another game of his, “yard service,” and it consists of him quietly sweeping the floor. I swear. I heard some heavy breathing and a couple thumps as he worked on the stairs, but I wasn’t crazy enough to disturb him. Yes, it’s the best game ever.

It was also the perfect day for soup. And so even though last week I said that I was going to vary the types of recipes I shared on Tuesdays, here we are.

I came across this recipe when I was looking for ways to use up all the “alternative” grains I had purchased during the half-assed detox I also mentioned last week. It adds a nice bump of protein and fiber to the soup while acting as a thickener. Millet also makes a nice hot breakfast alternative to oatmeal. (Hot breakfast – see what I did there?)

Creamy Carrot and Millet Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

soup

2 Tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2 c. millet

2 1/2 c. reduced-sodium vegetable broth or stock

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 c. milk

1/2 c. creme fraiche or sour cream

Grilled cheese croutons (recipe below)

3 green onions, sliced

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dillweed

Paprika and coarse salt (optional)

1. In a 3-4 quart pot melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook for 10 minutes until tender. Add the carrots, millet, stock and salt. Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, for 35 minutes until millet and carrots are very tender. Cool slightly.

2. Transfer carrot and millet mixture to a food processor. (You can also use a blender.) Cover and process until completely smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Add milk and creme fraiche (Or sour creme. I don’t even have the right fancy punctuation to use on the words “creme fraiche,” much less have any in my refrigerator.) Cover and process until smooth.

3. Return carrot and millet mixture to the pot; cover and stir over low heat until heated through. For a thinner texture, stir in additional milk. To serve, top with Grilled Cheese Croutons, if desired. Sprinkle with green onion and dillweed, as well as paprika and coarse salt if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Grilled Cheese Croutons

Cut 6 oz. French baguette into 1/4 inch slices. Brush one side of each slice with olive oil. Sandwich 2 oz. shredded Grueyere or Swiss cheese between 2 baguette slices, oiled side out. Repeat with remaining slices. In a large nonstick skillet toast sandwiches ove medium heat about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden. Cool slightly, cut into pieces.

The soup was a hit. Too much of a hit, actually. It started like this, one of those conversations that that makes me wonder why Pat is still married to me.

Pat: “This is really good. It’s different from last time.”

Me: “How is it different?”

Pat: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Do you even know what soup this is?”

Pat: “I don’t know, but I could eat like eight more bowls of it.”

Anyway, it turns out that Pat liked that I had actually topped the soup with the seasoning: paprika, dillweed (dried; I didn’t have fresh) and salt. It sounds weird, but tastes good.

It also turns out that we did not have enough soup. So if you have more than 4 people, or want leftovers, or just come from a family of hungry hippos like mine, you’ll want to double the recipe.

I ended up using up the entire baguette to make more grilled cheese croutons to fill up the hungry bellies. So dinner was basically grilled cheese croutons with carrot soup dip. And to think that the croutons are listed as “optional” in the recipe.

Finally: It occurred to me later than the consistency of the soup was a lot creamier this time. Smoother. And it just so happens that I could’t find the attachment for my immersion blender, which I usually use, so I had to use the ol’ Ninja.

I grumbled about this and blamed Pat for misplacing the attachment while putting away the clean dishes. He denies it, of course, but I insisted that it’s the only conceivable explanation. I cursed the soup that splattered on the cupboards, stove and floor as I used a spatula to transfer it from the blender back to the pot (and then another time after I realized I forgot to add the milk and sour cream). But the blender did make an awfully velvety soup. So maybe, just maybe, Pat was on to something.

Enjoy!