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Monday, November 7, 2016

Apple Harvest Soup

'Tis the season - for delicious, hearty, rib-sticking soups, and this one fits the bill.

I developed this recipe thirty years ago, and pretty much forgot about it. Mark has never been one for soup, and so I dedicated my culinary time to building a catalog of dishes he would enjoy.

When we adopted our son Christopher, I began to experiment again with soups and remembered this one.

This is a bowl-scraping, spoon-sucking dish if ever I've tasted one. The flavors are warm and rich with a kiss of apple. Born from an old recipe for Mulligatawny soup.


Mulligatawny is the Anglicized version of the Tamil (a southern Indian Dravidian language) words for "pepper water" or "pepper broth." It became popular with the British stationed in India (employees of the East India Company) during colonial times, during the late 18th century and later.  When they returned home, they brought the recipe back with them to England, and to other members of the Commonwealth, especially Australia.

It was a rich curried soup originally made with peppers, hence the name.  It has changed to suit differing tastes in Western culture, and has gone through many variations at various times and places.  It is usually based on a chicken stock (also mutton or vegetable stock) and curry, with cream , pieces of chicken, onion, celery, apples and almonds and garnished with rice. The cream was very likely, originally coconut milk.

Vegetarian versions may contain lentils, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, rice and fresh coconut.  I am told that Australians like to add tomatoes and bacon.  Yogurt is sometimes used instead of cream or coconut milk. Today Mulligatawny bears little resemblance to the original.

It is still one of my favorite soups, in many, if not all of it's forms. Freshly grated or ground spices and herbs make a world of difference when making any curry, and Mulligatawny soup is no exception. So take the time to do it right and you will be well rewarded.  It can be made as a mild curried soup, or it can be made to live up to its name "pepper water."


So here is my version, which is included in my soon to be released cook book Our Family  Table -
A collection of Recipes of Family and Friends Adopted Through Love

 Apple Harvest Soup

6 cups chicken broth
4 medium carrots, scrubbed and sliced
2 medium carrots, scrubbed
4 stalks of celery, washed and sliced
2 stalks of celery, washed
1 bunch (about six stems with leaves) parsley, chopped
1 bunch (about six stems) parsley
2 large tomatoes cut in half
3 cups diced, cooked chicken
2 large onions
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 box Stouffer’s Harvest Apples
5 teaspoons curry powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup sifted all-purpose flour


Making your own broth is not only very simple, incredibly economical, and it makes your house smell incredible:

Into a large pot, combine the 2 medium whole carrots,  the 2 whole stalks of celery, 1 large onion unpeeled (it adds a golden color and flavor to keep the paper on) the 2 tomatoes, 3 large chicken breasts or chicken thighs or mix, bone in and six sprigs of parsley, stems and all.

Combine with 8 cups of water and bring to a slow simmer. Skim off scum as it forms. Cook for approximately two hours. Do not add salt at this time!

While the broth is simmering, prepare the carrots and celery. Place in a saucepan.

One hour into simmering the broth, remove the chicken and set aside to cool.

When broth is done, remove vegetables and parsley from broth and discard. If you wish, you can pour your broth through a sieve, but it isn’t necessary, especially if you skimmed during cooking.

Add broth to saucepan of vegetables to cover (about three cups) and simmer until almost tender, approximately 15 minutes.

In another large pot sauté chopped onions until translucent, approximately five minutes. Add curry powder and red pepper flakes and sauté one minute. Add flour and stir, incorporating all of the flour into the onions and cook two minutes. Add broth from the other large pot slowly, about two cups at a time and stir, when soup begins to thicken, add remaining broth. Add cooked vegetables AND the broth in the saucepan to the soup pot. Stir. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Microwave Stouffer’s apples three minutes, add to pot. Shred cooled chicken and add as well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add parsley and cook approximately three minutes, reserving some for garnish.


Note: if you don’t want to use Stouffer’s Harvest apples, peel, core and slice two Granny Smith Apples and sauté with the onions.

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