The fortunate students at the Leelanau School, a boarding high school in Glen Arbor, get to imbibe the fruits of Lynne Brach’s passion for food. As the school’s food service director, Lynne incorporates as many local ingredients as she can into the daily three squares—including fresh vegetables all winter long from the school’s sizable greenhouse. During a special winter term, students can sign up for a cooking class that she oversees—last winter was homemade pasta and Italian sauces. Proof that Lynne has broadened the tastes of the mouths she’s responsible for feeding is in the empty pot after this carrot soup with ginger, curry and coconut milk makes the dinner menu. This favorite recipe of Lynne’s comes by way of her good friend and cookbook author, Nancy Allen—whom Lynne often assists at cooking classes in the area.—E.E.
Yields 4 quarts
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 to 3 large onions (about 7 cups), finely diced
- 1/4 cup ginger root, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup curry powder
- 3 pounds carrots, peeled (unless they are organic) and diced into half-inch pieces
- 3 whole cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 quarts (or a bit more) boiling water
- Salt, to taste
- 30 ounces (two 15 ounce cans) coconut milk
- Cilantro for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and add the onion. Cook the onion over moderate heat until soft but not browned. Add ginger and curry powder. Cook for a few minutes. Add the carrots and cook until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and boiling water. The water should just cover the carrots. Bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the carrots are very soft, about 15 minutes.
Remove the soup from the heat and purée with an immersion blender until very smooth. Salt to taste. Remember that salt brings out the flavor, so don’t be shy, but do taste it so you don’t overdo it. Stir in the coconut milk and heat. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro.