Carrot with Toasted Almond Soup


Beth Lewis, one of our shareholders, highly recommends this recipe from Epicurious.com. As she said, even the kids like it! I've modified it slightly to reflect the contents of this week's share. Garnish with plain yogurt or creme fraiche, if it's in your fridge. Serves 4 as a first course.

1 cup sliced shallots (about 4 large)
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Rounded 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/3 tsp dried, crumbled
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 small boiling potato (3 oz), peeled and cut into 1/2 cubes
1 1/2 lb carrots, peeled and cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 fl oz), or vegetable stock
1 cup applesauce
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Cook shallots, bay leaf, ginger, curry powder, and thyme in butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened and pale golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add potato to shallot mixture along with carrots, broth, applesauce, water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until carrots are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Purée soup in 2 batches in a blender until smooth, transferring as blended to a large bowl (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to saucepan to reheat if necessary. Serve soup sprinkled with almonds.

Cooks' notes:
•Soup can be made 2 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat over low heat. Thin with additional water if necessary.
•Almonds can be toasted 2 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

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