Friday, June 16, 2017

Curry Apple Carrot Soup

     A Tasty Soup For Any Season!
     Apple is a traditional sweetener for curry.  Carrots also have a semi sweet flavor.  The naturally sweet light flavor of apples and carrots mellows the complex curry spice flavor.  The result is an interesting soup flavor that provides warmth on a chilly day and gives relief to the heat during the summer season.     
     I have sold this soup as a special du jour item at many restaurants during the last three decades.  In Florida and Las Vegas, customers really liked this soup.  In conservative areas, like Pennsylvania, many restaurant workers still define how good a soup is, by whether it is sold in a can.  Needless to say, it was no use trying to sell modern soups, like Curry Apple Carrot when working in Philadelphia.  Curry Apple Carrot is more popular in trendsetting restaurants in warm weather climates.  Curry Apple Carrot Soup is also a good selling item in traditional English pubs, because the clientele are familiar with curry spice food.  
     While working as a sous chef at a fine dining French café in Florida that hosted weekly fashion shows, I ran Curry Apple Carrot Soup as a special du jour item one day.  Oddly enough, one of the customers at the café that day just happened to be an editor for Gourmet Magazine.  The editor liked my Curry Apple Carrot Soup!  The editor said that he would return in 3 weeks and that he wanted me to submit a standardized recipe for the soup.  He also wanted the soup to be prepared for photos for a story in Gourmet Magazine.  He handed his business card to the chef and I, then mentioned that he would call to give notice upon his return.
     I was happy about how the editor wanted to feature my Curry Apple Carrot Soup in Gourmet Magazine!  The French chef was happy too, because the notoriety would boost business.  Unfortunately, one week later tragedy struck.  The billionaire owner of the classy French Café had all of his assets frozen, due to a stock market insider trading scheme that he was involved in.  The French chef and I went two weeks without a paycheck and we both had quit our jobs at the café or go broke.  Leaving that bankrupted restaurant meant that my Curry Apple Carrot Soup was not going to be featured in Gourmet Magazine, but thats life in the fast lane.   
     A few months later, the bartender at the French cafe called me on the phone and told me how the café was still struggling to make ends meet.  When I mentioned the Gourmet Magazine deal, the bartender said that the editor of Gourmet Magazine actually did return for the soup recipe.  As it turned out, the bankrupt French café hired a second rate cook at a low wage to replace the French chef and I, so the food quality plummeted.  The bartender was laughing about how bad the cook really was!  The bartender said that the cook made the Curry Apple Carrot Soup with canned apple sauce and canned carrots that he purchased with petty cash at the food market next door.  The Gourmet Magazine representatives refused to have anything to do with that cook's version of the soup and they never returned.  I just laughed and thanked the bartender for letting me know what went on.    
     Anyway, readers of this recipe should be happy to know that Curry Apple Carrot Soup looks and tastes good enough to be featured in famous food magazine.  Restaurateurs will be happy to know that the cost of making this soup is very low, so the profit margin is extremely high.  Curry Apple Carrot Soup has been made by many chefs before me, but the version that I make always seems to turn out the best.  Most chefs thicken this soup with a cornstarch slurry, which actually is a shortcut method that robs flavor.  Roux is the best choice for thickening this soup, because it increases flavor while creating a silky smooth texture.   
     Curry Apple Carrot Soup
     This recipe yields about 1 quart.  (2 large soup bowls)
     Step 1:  Heat a large sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped peeled celery.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Sauté and stir till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 1/4 cups of small chopped carrot.
     Add 3/4 cup of chopped peeled cored apple.  (Gala Apple is good for this recipe.)
     Add 3 1/2 cups of light chicken stock.
     Step 3:  Raise the temperature to medium high heat.
     Bring the soup to a boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Garam Masala.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Yellow Madras Curry Powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add sea salt to taste.
     Gently simmer till the vegetables are very soft and the volume is about 4 cups.
     Step 5:  Remove the soup from the heat and let it cool.
     Use an emersion blender, food processor or blender to puree the soup.  (The soup in the photos was pureed the old fashioned way, by pressing the ingredients through a fine mesh strainer.)
     Step 6:  Pour the soup puree through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.
     Place the pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of cream while stirring.
     Add 3/4 cup of milk while stirring.
     Bring the soup to a gentle boil.
     Step 7:  When making roux, it is better to make too much than too little.  Any extra roux can be saved for other recipes.  Roux can be refrigerated for 7 days.
     Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 ounces of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour while constantly stirring with a whisk.  (The roux should look shiny, not caky.)
     Stir the roux till it becomes a light golden blonde color.
     Remove the roux pot from the heat.
     Step 8:  Slowly add just enough of the roux to the soup, while whisking, to thicken the soup to a thin consistency that barely coats a spoon.  (3 to 4 tablespoons of roux)
     Step 9:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the soup is a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon and the volume is about 4 cups.
     Keep the soup warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.
     Cinnamon Croutons:
     Only a few croutons are needed to garnish each bowl of soup. 
     Step 1:  Cut 1 slice of French Boule Loaf Bread into 3/8" cube shapes.  (About 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup.)
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     When the butter becomes hot and the milk fat liquids evaporate, add the bread cubes.
     Gently stir the croutons in the hot butter, till the croutons are lightly toasted and crisp.
     Step 3:  Use a slotted spoon to remove the croutons from the pan and set them aside in a container.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of cinnamon and 1 pinch of sugar over the croutons, while gently shaking the container.
     Keep the croutons warm on a stove top.
     Ladle 2 cups of the Curry Apple Carrot Soup into a shallow large soup bowl.
     Sprinkle 5 or 6 Cinnamon Croutons on the surface of the soup.
     Garnish the rim of the soup bowl with 2 or 3 Italian Parsley leaves.
     The golden orange color and the aroma of Curry Apple Carrot Soup is quite appealing.  This is a great soup for any season of the year!

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