Sweet & Spicy Carrot Bisque
This recipe, created by Aylene Lambert, won Best Soup in VT's 2011 Chef Challenge. Lambert got the idea for this soup while trekking across England with her husband. "We were at this lodge in the middle of nowhere, expecting pretty basic English food," she says. "Instead, they had the most incredible vegetarian banana curry. The next day we had so much energy for hiking." On a cold winter night back in New York, Aylene used the same banana flavor to make a velvety carrot bisque.
1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and pinch of salt, and sauté 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Stir in ginger, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add curry powder, cayenne, and 1/4 cup water. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to coat onion and ginger with curry mixture.
2. Add carrots, banana, 1 tsp. salt, and 4 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes, or until carrots are soft enough to be pierced with fork.
3. Purée soup in batches in blender or food processor. Return soup to pot, and stir in 1 cup coconut milk and lime juice.
4. Simmer remaining 3/4 cup coconut milk in small saucepan over medium-high heat 10 minutes, or until reduced by half.
5. Ladle soup in bowls, and swirl 11/2 Tbs. coconut milk reduction into each serving.