A delicious first course for a Fall or Thanksgiving dinner. The flour will give some body to the soup if you choose not to use the cream.

1 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium carrots (peeled and) chopped
2 medium pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
3/4  – 1 c chopped onion
2 T flour, optional
4 – 5 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 T minced fresh thyme, or 1 t dried thyme
1 small bay leaf
1/2 whole cinnamon stick
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c cream or milk, optional (but nice…)
1 T butter, optional (also nice…)

1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over low heat. Add the carrots, pears, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Stir in the flour, if using, and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes longer. Add the broth, thyme, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are just tender–this will depend on the size of the carrot pieces.

2. Remove bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Puree the soup, in 2 or 3 batches, in a blender or food processor, until smooth. Place each pureed batch in a large bowl until the soup pot is empty, then return the soup to its pot. Stir in the cream and butter, if using. Reheat gently, until just before a simmer. Serve immediately.