Apparently, “Trillium a Bistro” is no more in Asheville, NC. It has been several years since I made one of my Spring jaunts to visit Asheville stopping at Trillium, visiting the Grove Arcade to purchase a special balsamic vinegar, and then on to the Farmer’s Market for assorted cheeses, fingerling potatoes and a hand or two of ramps.
I probably visited Trillium early in it’s history, when Leisa Payne was still developing her creative chef juices there, before leaving. Okay, okay, I don’t know her at all. I may have caught a glimpse of her sticking her head out from the probably small kitchen, talking to the wait staff. But, without her knowing it, she provided my table with a recurring joy. Curried Apple Soup.
I remember the soup, with chicken, as having a deep redness. Something which I have never approached. I have developed a bright orange color, and the flavor satisfies my memory, but I’m not sure I have ever come near to how Leisa prepared this soup.
The soup is delicious both hot or cold. Adding a dollop of sour cream is a nice touch. *Thinking just now, a sprig of some type of fresh mint might top it off nicely.
Here is how I remember the recipe that I have used repeatedly. I normally do not add chicken.
— A couple of Granny Smith apples cored, peeled, and a large dice.
— A couple of carrots diced.
— A stalk of celery diced.
— Half a medium onion diced.
— Small can of peeled diced tomatoes.
— Curry paste (Patak’s to taste, about a table spoon. )
— A sprinkle of Mace (too much will make the soup bitter)
— A small amount of ground Cloves (not too much)
— Some flour mixed with water and the curry paste to thicken the soup
— A couple of cans of chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian version, add extra water if ingredients are too dry)
— Several teaspoons of sugar or brown sugar (sweeten to taste)
In a 2 quart sauce pan, add a little oil when you start to saute the apples, onion, celery and carrots. After they start to become aromatic, add the curry paste/water/flour mixture and stir in. Before it gets too dry and starts to burn, add the chicken stock and then the tomatoes, sugar and other spices. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a light simmer and cover for about 20 minutes until the apples & carrots have softened.
Now, here is why it doesn’t matter how well you dice and chop in the beginning (as long as all the bits are tender at the end): Pull out your stick blender (you should have one of these) and pull the pot off the fire and start blending the soup in the pot. Be careful so that the hot liquid does not slurp or splash over the edge and burn you, or make a mess. But, just keep blending until there are no chunks in the soup (carrots may hold on to the very end) and it is a beautiful smooth orange color.
I’ll admit to having a sweet tooth, so I may add way too much sugar. I may also add way too much curry. But, the end result is a soup… hot or cold that gives a bite, but the burn quickly goes away. This is not like a pepper hot which lingers on the tongue.