Curried Carrot & Apple Soup

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 medium fennel bulb, cored and chopped
Kosher salt
2 pounds carrots, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds
1-1/4 lbs celery root, peeled and chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
7 ginger snap cookies
1 Tbsp Madras Curry Powder
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
2 thyme sprigs
2 quarts chicken stock
1 Cup sour cream
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or try our Champagne Balsamic!)
Toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
Chopped mint, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion, leek, and fennel with a little salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium-high and cook, stirring intermittently, until vegetable pieces have softened and are beginning to brown, about 8 – 10 min. Add the carrots, celery root, apple, gingersnaps, Madras curry powder, garlic, ginger and fresh thyme sprigs, and continue to cook, stirring, until the carrots and celery root also have softened slightly, about 10 min more.

Add the chicken stock to the saucepan and, raising heat to high, bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and allow dish to simmer, stirring every few minutes, until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 -30 min. Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool a little before undertaking the next step.*

Working in batches, puree the slightly cooled soup in a blender, along with the sour cream and vinegar until mixture is smooth. When ready to serve, reheat the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls, and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped fresh mint and cilantro before serving.

The soup can be made a day ahead, and refrigerated overnight. Reheat before serving.

Adapted from Food and Wine.

*If you don’t let the soup cool, the hot soup will blow the lid right off your blender when you turn it on, making a scalding-hot (but fragrant and delicious) mess!