2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 inner stalk of celery, leaves included, chopped
1 leek, white part only, chopped
1" piece fresh ginger root, grated
1 t. salt
1/8 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. cumin
1 T. hot green curry paste
2 tart green apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
2 quarts good beef broth
1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon + an extra lemon or two to finish the soup
2 c. red lentils
1 c. sour cream
3 T. finely chopped cilantro
lightly salted, roasted cashews, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and roast until just done in a medium oven. Let cool, then chop into 1/2" cubes. Set aside.
In a heavy soup pot, melt the butter and olive oil and over medium heat gently sauté the garlic, carrot, jalapeno, onion, celery, leek, ginger and spices for 10 minutes, Everything should be soft and translucent, but not browned. Add the apples, beef broth, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add the lentils, bring up the heat a bit, and cook another 10 minutes. The lentils will thicken things up considerably.
Puree the soup in a food processor, as finely as possible. Velvety smoothness is the goal. Taste the soup and if it needs more zing, squeeze in more fresh lemon juice.
Mix the minced cilantro and sour cream well. In each soup bowl, arrange 1 T. of cubed chicken, 1 t. of cashews, 1 t. of raisins and 1 t. of coconut (place this on a cilantro leaf so it shows up better) around a T. dollop of the sour cream mixture in the center. Bring the bowls to the table with the goodies displayed in the bottom of the bowl, and ladle the hot soup from a beautiful tureen into each guest's bowl.