Saturday, July 2, 2011

Curry Apple Carrot Soup

Restaurant customers like this soup!
     Apple is a traditional sweetener for curry.  Carrots also have a sweeten curry.  This soup tastes soothing, slightly sweet and is has a nice mellow curry flavor.  
     Curry Apple Carrot Soup was originally a soup that was created out of necessity at a small cafe that I worked in as a sous chef.  The hot tempered English chef forgot to order chicken for a Senegal curry soup.  The chef went through his usual tirade of cursing and swearing about forgetting to order chickens.  I already started the soup, so adding more carrots and calling the soup by the name Curry Apple Carrot seemed like a good idea.  The soup sold well!
     One problem with the original curry apple carrot soup, was that the cheap lazy chef at the restaurant demanded that cornstarch be used to thicken all soups instead of with a roux.  The soups always broke during dinner hours ant the chef would lose his temper dealing with the problem.  Cornstarch thickened soups always break.
      After quitting that sous chef job, which involved babysitting a screaming second rate chef all day, I moved on to a better sous chef job at a French cafe.  One day, I posted the curry apple carrot soup on the special du jour board.  I made the soup with a roux and classic French cooking techniques.  The quality of the soup improved dramatically.  The soup was a smash hit with the French cafe clientele!  The French chef at the cafe was a culinary arts teacher at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.  The chef said that my curry apple carrot soup was one of the finest soups that he had ever tasted!  
     Oddly enough that day, one of the customers at the cafe 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 2 months and that he wanted me to submit a standardized recipe for the soup.  He also wanted the soup to be prepared for pictures.  He handed his card to us chefs and said he would call to give us a few days 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 he would probably take credit for the soup.  
     One week later, tragedy struck!  The billionaire owner of the French Cafe ended up having all his assets frozen, due to a huge insider trading scheme on the stock market.  The French chef and I went two weeks with no pay and we both quit our jobs at the cafe!  That meant that my Curry Apple Carrot Soup was not going to be featured in Gourmet Magazine.  Ce est la vie! 
     A couple months later, the bartender at the French cafe's called me on the phone and said that the editor of Gourmet Magazine actually did return for the soup recipe.  The bankrupt French cafe had hired a second rate cook at a low wage to replace the French chef and I.  The bartender was laughing about how bad the cook really was!  The bartender said that the panicked cook made the Curry Apple Carrot Soup with apple sauce and canned carrots.  I just had to laugh!  Needless to say, that version of my Curry Apple Carrot Soup never made the cover of Gourmet Magazine.  
     The editor of Gourmet Magazine asked where the French chef and I had gone to work after leaving the cafe, because he wanted to contact me in regards to the Curry Apple Carrot Soup recipe.  The bartender sadly informed the magazine editor that the French chef had moved back to Corsica and I accepted a job at an exclusive members only yacht club.  
     The Gourmet Magazine editor gave up the pursuit of my Curry Apple Carrot Soup recipe, rather than to pay the $80,000 membership fee that our yacht club charged.  That is what the editor would have had to do just to ask me for the recipe.  Only guests invited by members are allowed in yacht clubs.  Without a membership, there is no entry.
     Anyway, that is the reason my refined Curry Apple Carrot Soup was never submitted to Gourmet Magazine.  Curry Apple Carrot Soup looks good enough to be on the cover of a magazine!  It is a good selling restaurant soup that is easy to make at home.  The cost of making this soup is very low and that is a good thing for a food cost conscious chef or home cook.  The original idea for this soup came from modifying another soup recipe out of necessity.  I do take credit for creating this refined version of the soup.    
     Curry Apple Carrot Soup
     This recipe makes enough soup for two large bowls!
     Heat a large sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped peeled celery.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Saute and stir, till the onions turn clear in color.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 1/4 cup of chopped carrot.
     Add 3/4 cup of chopped peeled cored apple.  (Gala apple is good for this recipe.)
     Add 5 cups of light chicken stock.
     Raise the temperature to high heat.
     Bring the soup to a boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of garam masala.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add sea salt.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Gently simmer the soup, till the vegetables become very soft and tender.
     Remove the soup from the heat and let it cool to less than 90ยบ.
     Puree the soup with a blending wand, food processor or blender.  (The soup in the pictures was pureed the old fashioned way, by pressing the soup through a fine mesh strainer.)
     Pour the soup 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, while the roux is being made.
     Note:  When making roux separately, is is better to make too much than too little.  Any extra roux can be used 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.
     Stir the roux, till it becomes a golden blonde color.
     Add just enough of the roux to the soup, while whisking, to thicken the soup to a thin consistency.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce the soup, till it becomes a medium thin puree soup consistency.
     Keep the soup warm over very low heat.
     Cinnamon Croutons:
     Cut about 10 small 3/8" cube shaped croutons from a slice of bread.  (Seedless rye bread or French bread are good choices for this recipe.)
     Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 4 pats of unsalted butter.
     When the butter becomes hot and the milk fat liquids evaporate, add the bread croutons.
     Stir the croutons in the hot butter, till the croutons become lightly toasted.
     Remove the croutons from the pan and set them aside on a dish.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of cinnamon and 1 pinch of sugar over the croutons.
     Ladle the curry apple carrot soup into a shallow soup bowl.
     Sprinkle the cinnamon croutons over the middle of the soup.
     Garnish the rim of the soup bowl with a couple of Italian parsley leaves.
     The color and texture of this soup is refined and it has a nice golden color!  This soup is a pleasure to eat.  The flavor is naturally semi sweet from the apple and carrots and not sugar.  The North Indian garam masala curry flavor is mild and soothing.  This is a great soup for any season of the year.  Yum!  ...  Shawna                            

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