This soup was my all time favorite soup at our church Bistro. Several years ago, when we were doing the Best of Bistro--I begged for the committee to choose Mulligatawny soup--to no avail. I was informed that although it is tasty, it is time consuming. So I will just have to taste it in memory.
The editorial note which identifies the soup as an early American standard is a bit confusing--the source of the note is the woman in our church who is a trained chef who vets all the recipes for ingredients, quantity, directions, and such. I believe the origin of this soup was from the British Raj days of bringing foods back to England from India.
Makes 12 servings.
This recipe is an early American standard, which boasts a harvest of winter vegetables and the somewhat unusual tastes of curry and almond milk. This version is somewhat time-consuming. You might want to sauté your chicken and make the almond milk ahead of time.
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
12 T. butter
3 pounds chicken pieces
4 medium carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
10 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound blanched almonds
1 cup water
1 cup tightly packed spinach leaves
2-1/2 T. curry powder
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
1) Melt 6 T. of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, garlic and potatoes. Cook 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until onions become translucent. Remove vegetables from the pan and reserve. Wipe out the pan.
2) Add 2 more T. of butter to the skillet and melt. Sauté chicken pieces until they are nicely browned, then place them into a soup kettle.
3) Add chicken broth and bring soup to a simmer. After 30 minutes of simmering, check one of the larger dark meat pieces of chicken for doneness. The chicken should be almost ready to fall off of the bone when it is done. Remove chicken pieces from the kettle and allow them to cool slightly. Discard skin and bones and chop the chicken into small bite-size pieces. Return chicken to the pot. Return the soup to a simmer.
4) While soup is simmering, make almond milk. Toast almonds in the oven at 300 degrees for 10-15 minutes until they just turn light brown. Grind them in a blender or food processor for 2 minutes with 1 cup water. Strain mixture through fine mesh strainer (or double layer of cheesecloth). Reserve all almond milk and discard residual almonds.
5) Add spinach leaves and reserved sautéed vegetables to the kettle. Simmer for 1 minute.
6) Melt remaining 4 T. of butter in a small skillet and stir in curry powder. Add curry mixture and almond milk to the soup kettle. Add cream and cilantro and bring just to a simmer.
If you try it and like it, let me know.