Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Curried Carrot and Peanut Soup with Coconut Shrimp "Croutons"

Last night Mr. Fabulous and I hosted the program committee members of the American Institute of Wine & Food. The members of this dedicated group plan the fabulous chef-inspired and wine-informative food and wine dinner events. These events help to support the Days of Taste program ... to learn more about this fantastic program, browse the AIWF website.

Our dinner meetings are held once a month where members contribute to the meal. The host typically prepares the main entree, (I prepared my recipe for Smokey BBQ Beef Brisket) but I also wanted to introduce to this food-enthused group this wildly popular soup. It can be served as a main entree with a lettuce leaf salad and some good bread, but I served it as a starter in these fun-shaped, three-spoonful vessels. The soup received the same reaction it always does ... "More memorable than any soup I've ever tasted!" "The combination of flavors danced on my palate."

This is one of those recipes you'll come back to again and again. It’s a great choice if you’re having a dinner party and want to present something truly unique. It’s a rich soup, so if you serve it as an entree it needs nothing more than a tossed green salad and slices of homemade or good-quality bread or corn muffins.

Helpful to know: My chicken broth of preference is Imagine Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. Curried Carrot and Peanut Soup can be prepared in advance, but cook the shrimp just prior to serving. This soup seems to absorb salt, adjust the measurement according to your taste.

Curried Carrot and Peanut Soup

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 cups white onion, sliced

4 teaspoons curry powder

6 cups chicken broth

8 medium (about 5-6 cups) carrots, sliced

One 14-ounce can light coconut milk

1 cup chunky peanut butter

1-2 teaspoons salt, depending on your preference for salty

In a large pot, heat olive oil over moderate heat, add onion and sauté until translucent. Add curry powder to onion and stir to combine, cook about 1 minute. Add chicken broth and carrots, bring mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to a food processor and purée in batches until smooth; transfer puréed batches to a large bowl. Add coconut milk, peanut butter and salt to the last batch to be puréed and process until velvety smooth. Add to puréed mixture and combine until fully blended. Transfer blended mixture back into the large soup pot and simmer until shrimp croutons are ready to serve.

Coconut Shrimp "Croutons"

24 count large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, cut into chunks

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ - 1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 425°. In medium bowl, toss shrimp with olive oil and salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Toss shrimp with coconut, place in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet; bake for 10 minutes or until shrimp are firm and coconut is slightly brown/black. Divide the soup into 8 shallow serving bowls and top each with 6 chunks (croutons!) of shrimp. Yield: 8 servings.