Are you getting ready to move on? It's that time, you know, and we're here to help.
I know, I know.... It's hard to think that the carefree summer days of sand, sun, cook-outs, s'mores, beaches, hot dogs, swimsuits, flip flops, etc. are relegated to "days gone by", right? But cheer up! Think of all the fun that's ahead; cool, crisp evenings, jewel-hued trees, long, lazy walks on leaf-strewn paths, pumpkin patches, candy corn, v's of geese honking their way south, fires in the hearth ... and SOUP!
Whoops! I almost forgot the fun and fabulous garnish/topping; crispy golden bacon bits, a tiny julienne of green apple, a handful of roughly chopped cashews and a scatter of fresh thyme leaves. That's all it takes for a lovely and delicious adornment.
A soup like this Coconut Curry Carrot and Apple Soup is the perfect way to slip into this lovely season. So go ahead, shed a tiny tear and bid the summer of 2013 farewell, then skip and jump for joy as you make the passage into fall by whipping up a batch of this delicious soup. Serve it in
small, fancy dishes as a delightful appetizer course or in larger soup bowls with crusty, warm bread for a complete meal.
- For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ teaspoons ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic
- 1 teaspoon lemongrass paste
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoons mild curry
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- 1 pound carrots peeled and coarsely chopped (or use a 1 pound bag of baby carrots)
- 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper seeds removed, and coarsely chopped
- 2 medium apples cored and coarsely chopped (I used Gala, but Golden Delicious or your favorite cooking apple would work as well)
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 can coconut milk
- For the topping/garnish:
- 4 strips bacon sliced into ¼ inch pieces
- ½ medium Granny Smith apple cored and julienne-cut into tiny 1 inch strips
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped cashews
- fresh thyme leaves for garnish
In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter and sauté the garlic, ginger and lemongrass just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the coriander, curry powder, cumin, curry paste and brown sugar and cook another 30 seconds. Add carrots, onion, bell pepper and apple and continue cooking until veggies start to soften, about 5 more minutes.
Add salt and chicken broth to the pot and increase the heat. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a low, constant simmer. Cook for about 25-30 minutes or until veggies are very soft and tender. Add coconut milk and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Purée the soup until smooth using either a regular blender or an immersion (stick) blender. If using a regular blender, let the soup cool down a bit before blending. Then purée in batches to prevent the soup from splattering. You can also remove the center piece of the blender lid and place a clean dishtowel or paper towel over the opening while blending. This will allow the steam to escape and prevent spattering.
While soup is simmering, prepare the topping. Cook bacon in a small pot until deep, golden brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on several thicknesses of paper towels to drain.
Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the bacon fat and discard. Add apple to pan and cook over medium low heat for a minute or two until just slightly softened. Add brown sugar, bacon and cashews and cook for another 30 seconds.
Place a tablespoon of topping in a shallow bowl. Gently ladle soup around topping. Add a bit more of the apple topping to create a small mound on top of soup. Serve immediately.