The day before a small dinner party, we made this wonderful soup by Mikel López Iturriaga which combines carrots, apples, leeks and onions as the main stars. Our overall meal revolved around a veggie- and fruit-centric theme, despite the fact the main entrée was a herb-stuffed pork loin roast. So this soup fit into the rotation nicely as the first course.
With the addition of honey, we were a bit concerned the soup may be too sweet, but the alliums countered that sweetness and the mint and yogurt finish provided a cool refreshing note. The finished soup is silky smooth and creamy, yet there is no cream in it!
One of the best we’ve ever eaten, it is moving on up into that Top Ten range of best soups ever. Of course, anytime you make a recipe that calls for stock or broth, you’ll enhance the depth of flavor by using homemade, as opposed to the bland store-bought varieties.
Cream of Carrot and Caramelized Apple Soup
- 1 1⁄2 lbs. carrots, peeled, chopped into 1⁄2-inch pieces
- 3 Golden Delicious apples, washed, cored and peeled
- 1 1⁄2 large leeks, trimmed and washed thoroughly, chopped into 1⁄2-inch pieces
- 1 1⁄2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped into 1⁄2-inch pieces
- 4 cups (1 qt.) chicken or vegetable broth, preferably homemade
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 4 oz. apple liqueur
- 4 sprigs thyme, tied in a bundle
- 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 pinch ground cumin
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Peel and chop the leek (white and light green parts only), the onion, and the carrot into half-inch pieces. Poach them covered in a large soup pot over medium-low heat with a pinch of salt and about 3 tablespoons olive oil for about 20 minutes or until the onion is tender. Do not brown the vegetables.
- Add the broth and thyme bundle, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until carrots are very tender.
- Meanwhile, core and peel the apples, then cut each into 8 segments. Place on a large plate and daub them with the honey.
- Place the butter in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over a medium heat. When it is melted and hot, add the apple segments making sure that the broad side of each one makes contact with the bottom of the skillet. Caramelize them for about 5 minutes or until they achieve a dark golden color, then turn them and caramelize the other side, about another 5 minutes.
- Once the apple pieces are tender and golden, add them to the soup pot. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the apple liqueur and stir to loosen the fond on the bottom of the skillet. Return the skillet to a medium-high heat and boil for about 2 minutes.
- Add this sauce to the soup, cook the soup for a couple minutes more and then puree the mixture until it is velvety smooth and no pieces of the apple peel are visible. If the soup appears too thick, add some additional broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Allow the soup to rest for several hours. It’s best made the day before you plan to serve it.
- When ready to serve, bring the soup gently to a simmer.
- In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, cumin, mint, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve the hot soup with a tablespoon of the yogurt as garnish.
Recipe from Mikel López Iturriaga for El País