I enjoyed lunch with some girlfriends last fall and the soup of the day was carrot soup – but it was unlike any carrot soup I’ve tasted. It wasn’t creamy or blended. It was a broth-based soup with a hint of curry.
I’ve come up with a recipe that’s close to the restaurant version that comes together in about 30 minutes.
The recipe begins by sautéing some diced ham in a little butter or olive oil. The ham is optional, but it adds an extra layer of flavor. Thinly sliced leek – the white part only – some minced fresh garlic and some thinly sliced carrots round out the flavor base.
I’m sure the soup in the restaurant was made with homemade stock, but at home I used a combination of beef and chicken stock pucks (or pods).
These have been available in supermarkets for a couple of years, and I usually use the Knorr brand, choosing the reduced-sodium versions. Look for them near the canned broth in the soup aisle. One of each flavor diluted with 6 cups of water is the perfect liquid base for the soup.
When the soup is almost done, the final touch is some fresh baby spinach. We weren’t sure if the greens in the restaurant soup were kale or spinach, but since baby spinach cooks up quickly I chose it over kale.
The soup makes a nice light supper or a pack-and-go lunch.
CURRIED CARROT SOUP
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 cup diced ham, optional
1 medium leek, pale green and white part, cut in half, rinsed well and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 2 medium cloves
5-6 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
Heat the butter or oil in a Dutch oven or other large stock pot over medium-high heat.
Add the ham, if using, and cook, stirring, until browned. Add the leek, garlic and carrots to the pot and cook, stirring, until the leeks are tender, about five minutes.
Stir in the curry powder and ginger and cook for one minute. Add the broths and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the spinach and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about two minutes, until spinach is wilted. Makes about six servings.