Friday, June 06, 2008

Reed's Curried Carrot Soup

If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog for a while, you know that I am truly blessed with great friends who love to cook.

One couple you’ve read about before are Reed Malkin and his wife Diane Benson. In the past few months they have initiated what has become a regular affair: the Sunday afternoon dinner. Folks trail in over the early hours of the afternoon, and enjoy a glass of wine, or a French aperitif. There are always dishes of olives and perhaps a few slices of salami to nibble on, and some of the guests might bring an appetizer to share.

Around 3:00 Reed will wander toward the kitchen and start bringing out the first of what is always several courses of really yummy food. And usually the lovely Miss Benson will wind up the meal with one of her home-made desserts. By 6:00 or so, everyone heads home.

I really like this idea and may steal it for my own. It makes an easy, casual way to entertain. The hosts aren't faced with a pile of dirty dishes late at night (or even worse, early the next morning). The guests can go home and do what they need to do to get ready for work the next day, and everyone can get to bed at a reasonable hour.

A recent gathering featured a wonderful curried carrot soup to start. The main course was a marinated and grilled tuna loin that one of the guests had fished out of the sea just the day before, with an orzo risotto and a great baked dish reminiscent of ratatouille, topped with cheese. Dessert was home-made ice cream and cookies.

You know how I love dishes that can be made ahead, so I had to ask for the soup recipe. It makes a great first course in the heat of summer. With its garnish of shrimp, I think you could make a great luncheon with a big green salad. And look how easy it is!


1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon curry powder (see notes)
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 can (14-16 ounces) coconut milk (see notes)
Juice and zest of one lime
For garnish:
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted
4 to 6 large shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

In a heavy pot, over medium heat, sauté the green and yellow onion in the butter until starting to soften. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender.
Add the carrots and the stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.
With a hand blender, or in a food processor, puree the soup until very smooth. Add the coconut milk, lime juice and zest. Cover and chill .
When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and top with the garnish. Serves 4 as a main course, or 6 as a first course.

NOTES: Reed used hot curry powder which gave it a pretty good kick. If you prefer, you may use mild curry powder. The coconut milk is the unsweetened sort, found in the oriental food section, not the sweetened cream of coconut found in the beverage mixer section of the supermarket.
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