Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat; add carrots and next 4 ingredients; sauté 8 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring often, 20 minutes. Stir in rice, and cook, stirring often, 18 minutes or until rice is tender.
Remove from heat. Process mixture with a handheld blender until smooth. Stir in half-and-half, if desired. Serve with desired toppings.
My husband loves soup, so he made this for dinner last night. It was excellent, very flavorful.Topped it with fresh chives and sour cream. Also sprinkled with croutons which added a bit of crunch to it. Used fat-free half-and-half. Will definitely make again. Great for a weeknight meal.
I enjoyed this soup the more I ate it. I especially liked the sour cream with it and I may mix that in next time instead of the half-and-half. I stored it in individual servings and heated it up for a quick snack or side for lunch or dinner. I'll make this again!