12.29.2011

perfection

It's very rare when I stumble upon a recipe that needs no changing. My mom first made me this soup about 8 years ago and it was love at first bite. It's creamy, curried, perfectly balanced with a little kick from cayenne, fresh bursts of apple, rich and nutty from dry sherry, and subtle hints of herbaceous dill. This is hands down my favorite soup, EVER. 

If you're looking for a first course for your New Years Eve dinner party, this soup will knock the socks off of your guests. Plus, we all need a rich indulgent last meal before we swear off fatty foods in the New Year, right?! Who needs New Years Resolutions anyway! I promise this soup will not disappoint. 


apple, curry + chicken soup
slightly adapted from pasta & co
yields 3.5 pints (7 cups)

ingredients:
4 chicken breasts 
1 stick of butter (¼ lb)
5 shallots, finely minced
3 celery stalks, finely minced
1 T. curry powder
1 t. chicken bouillon (or 2 cubes)
2 t. dried dill 
1 t. ground black pepper
½ t. ground nutmeg
½ T. cayenne 
½ c. flour
1 c. dry sherry
1 c. chicken stock
¾ c. apple cider 
2 c. half and half
2 c. heavy cream
1 large granny smith apple finely diced (peeled and cored)
salt + pepper

In a large saute pan place chicken breasts with enough water to cover and gently simmer until cooked halfway through (about 6 minutes). Flip breasts over and cook for another 4 minutes until almost cooked. The chicken should still be a little pink in the middle. Chop or shred and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, melt butter and saute shallots and celery until soft (about 10 minutes). Once translucent and softened add your curry, chicken bouillon, dill, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add in flour and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add in sherry, chicken stock and apple cider. Stir until mixture becomes thick. Add in the chicken, cream, half and half, and chopped apples. Gently simmer for another 10 minutes to finish cooking the chicken. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. 

improv style:
this recipe is fabulous and fatty... i get it if it sounds scary to consume so much fatty liquid. it's glorious, i promise. still not convinced? ok, ok... you can substitute for coconut milk, whole milk, or any kind of milk. but be warned, you're sacrificing texture and the richness. 

you can adjust the amount of cayenne if you don't like spicy or like it spicier. the cream balances out the spicy so well in this soup. i love spicy but i don't like to burn my tongue. that's what this soup is, balanced spicy perfection. you can use any kind of apple you have but granny smith is my favorite. also you could leave out the chicken or substitute it with tofu to make it vegetarian. if you don't have dry sherry, try using a cognac or brandy. shallots can be substituted for onions and dry dill can be substituted for fresh, just double the amount as fresh herbs aren't as strong in flavor as dried ones. not a fan of celery? me either... it really just adds a textural element to the dish. if you're still not convinced, leave it out, it will still turn out. you can make it gluten free by thickening it with cornstarch or rice flour. 

this is great as a soup but would also be awesome over rice or with rice mixed in. 



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