This soup is an easy after-work-type of soup that can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. This is a simple, incredibly tasty, slightly spicy soup, with sweet and savory elements that compliment each other perfectly…soup, much like life, is all about balance. When you read the recipe, I know you’re going to wonder what I’ve been smoking when you see the ingredients. Bananas, apples, onions, and celery just don’t go together. Actually, surprisingly, they do! I thought the same thing until I remembered that when I make a curry, I usually have bananas and apples to add to the mix. I just use them as a garnish, but why not IN the soup? The original recipe came from a 2001 issue of Gourmet Magazine and it’s a good recipe to have on hand for a cold January night.
I’ve adapted the recipe over the years, as I have a tendency to do. I’ve added a kaffir lime leaf. I love the nuanced, citrusy-spicy flavor it adds to the soup. You can purchase them at Asian/Indian markets. I toss them in the freezer. It is necessary to remove that center rib (it’s very tough), then I julienned the leaf. This is a single leaf in the picture; a kaffir leaf is actually 2 leaves joined together.
That isn’t cilantro or parsley in the picture. That’s a recent discovery, “Chinese celery”. Think celery with a huge amount of leaves and very fine, thin ribs. This celery is definitely all about the leaves. I buy it in the Asian market, wash the leaves and spin them dry, pop them in a plastic bag with a piece of paper towelling and use the leaves in salads. They have a sweeter, more delicate and much milder flavor than western celery. The leaves dry well, too. Without further ado…
- 1 large boiling potato (1/2 lb), peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 celery heart (inner pale stalks with leaves), chopped (1/2 cup)*
- 1 large apple (preferably Granny Smith), peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 firm-ripe banana, coarsely chopped
- 1 kaffir lime leaf, center rib removed and the remainder julienned
- 1 pint chicken broth (I use more, about 3-4 cups)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 well-rounded teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional; taste before adding at the end)
Combine for a garnish:
- 1 scallion finely chopped (include some of the green part)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint
Simmer vegetables and fruits with the kaffir lime leaf, in broth in a 3-quart heavy saucepan, covered, until very tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in cream and curry powder; heat just until hot (do not boil).
Purée soup, in the pot, with an immersion blender, until smooth. Or purée soup in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Thin soup with additional broth, if needed. Taste and correct seasoning. Serve hot, sprinkled with a combination of the chopped scallion, cilantro and mint.
Cooks’ note: · Soup can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.
*I used Chinese celery, which is mostly leaves with very fine celery ribs. You can find it in a large Asian market. The leaves are excellent in salads, as well.
This was adapted from a 2001 issue of Gourmet Magazine.