In the weeks leading up to Adi's birth, I started baking and cooking food intended entirely for the freezer. If I'm being honest (and inviting you all to take some jabs at my sensibilities), some of what I stowed away was a bit...frouffy: butternut sage scones and carrot bran muffins, for the absurd but oh-so-likely future occasion that I need to throw a brunch together at the last minute; embarrassingly large quantities of cookies (NYT chocolate chip and chocolate gingerbread and snickerdoodles, I know you're curious) because nursing is really hard, and after a long day of rather painfully feeding my babe, I need to feed myself and you know what? These days, that involves a cookie.
Not that cookies aren't a practical choice, but I can assure you that in plotting what would occupy my precious freezer real estate, I did consider courses other than dessert. I've frozen small bags of chicken stock to have on hand for easy rice or vegetable dishes, and I even froze some of Lisa Fain's fantastic seven-chile chili. which I make precisely once a year. But most of what I froze in the non-brunch, non-dessert department consisted of soup. And since we've now had the chance to defrost a couple of containers for no-thinking-required dinner, I can tell you that this curried carrot-apple number has proven a clear favorite.
The recipe comes from Food and Wine, which I once made time to read. (These days, I barely get through a Saveur before the next one arrives.) I love this soup: its pungency and spice are tempered by plenty of sweetness from carrots, apples, and a brilliant secret ingredient: gingersnaps. While the recipe calls for chicken stock, I used water and was quite happy with the results. I also shortened the ingredient list, because vegetable soup mustn't call for one of every single winter vegetable. Skipped fennel, added more leek. Skipped fussy garnish in favor of a simple spoonful of yogurt. Wasn't sad.
The soup went into the freezer perfectly smooth. It separated a bit while defrosting, but that resolved itself once I heated up a bowlful.
These days, the mornings fly by, and then I realize that suddenly it's 1:30 and I haven't thought about lunch. This soup's been a lifesaver. The fact that it's delicious? Well, that's icing on the cake.
One year ago: Gingerbread Oat Waffles and Maple Cardamom Marshmallows
Two years ago: Cocoa Rye Raisin Bread and White Hot Chocolate with Warm Spices
Three years ago: Leek Latkes and the best, easiest tomato soup ever
Four years ago: Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw and Pasta with Eggplant Sauce
Five years ago: Hazelnut Shortbread and Brown Butter Cauliflower
Six years ago: Apricot-Stuffed French Toast and Great Homemade Granola
Seven years ago: Chocolate Pretzel Cookies and oh, look! another Carrot Soup
Curried Carrot-Apple Soup
Adapted from Food and Wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 medium leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
Salt and pepper
2 pounds carrots, coined
1 1/4 pounds celery root, peeled and chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
7 small, crunchy gingersnap cookies (about 1 cup), plus extra crumbled for garnish, optional
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
leaves from 2 thyme sprigs or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 quarts stock or water
1 cup sour cream or yogurt, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
fresh nutmeg, for serving, optional
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, and generous pinches of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, celery root, apple, gingersnaps, curry powder, garlic, ginger and thyme and cook, stirring, until the carrots and celery root soften slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the stock or water and bring to a boil, then simmer over moderate heat until the vegetables are very tender, 25 minutes.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender (regular blender is best, but immersion blender will also work) with the sour cream/yogurt and vinegar until smooth. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and an optional (but very lovely) dusting of freshly grated nutmeg or some crumbled gingersnaps.