Curried celery and apple soup

As we yearn for spring, the cold and drizzly days ahead are just a bit more tolerable with a bowl of homemade soup.

In most recipes celery hangs back like a timid wallflower, underpinning sauces and soups with its herbal minerality. But put it center stage, sweeten it with apples, and spike it with a little curry powder, and you will be rewarded with a delicate and soothing soup, made creamy by simmering it with a little rice in place of dairy.

Curried celery and apple soup
Serves 6

1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 celery stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large leek, trimmed of green part, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
4 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 can (15 ounces) low-fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons rice
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped celery leaves (for garnish)

1. Set the oven at 350°F. On a baking sheet, spread the almonds. Bake for 8 minutes, or until light brown. Cool.

2. In large soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the celery, leeks, and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the apples, curry powder, and turmeric. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk, rice, and stock. Bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

3. In a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Return to the pot, and stir in the lime juice. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

4. Ladle the soup into bowls, and sprinkle the celery leaves and toasted almonds on top.

Posted on February 24, 2016 .