I’ve made rosemary infused carrot and apple puree for years to serve with roasted pork, it's a delicious combination! One time I added too much liquid and decided to turn it into an appetizer soup. It evolved into this yummy recipe, which makes a perfect start to a cozy fall dinner. Good luck not munching on the crispy pancetta and toasted panko topping while the soup cooks!
—Jenya | BlueGalley
sweet red apples
large garlic clove
olive oil, divided
finely diced pancetta
fresh lemon juice
small red Thai chili pepper (optional, can also use a few hot pepper flakes or a pinch of Cayenne)
Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and a few small rosemary sprigs (add one for each guest you are serving, if they are too big, just use the tips of the sprig). Cook, stirring often, until Pancetta is crispy (about 5 minutes). Turn heat to low, add the Panko and cook another 2 minutes until the breadcrumbs are toasted. Remove rosemary sprigs from pan and set aside. Remove the pancetta and Panko mixture and set aside separately. Wipe the pan clean to remove any breadcrumb bits.
Meanwhile, chop the onion and hot pepper (if using) and finely mince the garlic. Peel and chop the carrots and apples into even chunks.
Heat remaining 2 tbs oil and 2 tbs butter over medium low heat until butter is melted. Add chopped onion, minced garlic and chili. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt (about 1/4 tsp) and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Place a large rosemary sprig on top and cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped carrots and apples, cook over medium heat, stirring, to brown slightly, another 5 minutes or so.
Add 2 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of water, stir with spoon to combine. Partially cover and simmer on low for 40 minutes. If after 40 minutes, the carrots are not soft enough to be pureed, cook another 5 to 10.
Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer to blender and puree (in batches if necessary). Add soup back to the pan and heat on low to warm. Stir in the lemon juice, heavy cream and season with a little more salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the soup into serving bowls, top with some of the crispy pancetta / panko mixture and place one of the crisped rosemary sprigs over the topping.