One Soup, With Banana

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Chicken Curry Soup

Active Work Time: 40 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

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DEAR SOS: Last weekend we went to Chef Hannes Restaurant in El Segundo. We had a wonderful meal. To start it off, we had a curried chicken soup with barley and, unexpectedly, bananas. This was very special. I would like to know how they put it together.

MARY STRONG

Redondo Beach

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DEAR MARY: Yes, there are bananas, but no, there is no barley. That was brown rice. Chef Hannes adds a scoop of cooked brown rice before ladling out the soup. He says it's optional, though. If you'd like to add brown rice to your soup, cook it separately. The directions will be on the package.

1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup finely diced shallots

1/3 cup finely diced celery

1/3 cup finely diced carrot

1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 bananas, sliced

2 cups tomato sauce

6 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Salt

Brown the chicken in a stock pot with the oil over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes.

Add the shallots, celery, carrot, sugar, curry powder, turmeric, tarragon, cayenne pepper and bananas. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the bananas are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until the chicken is cooked and the flavors have melded, 30 minutes.

Combine the cornstarch with a little water and add it to the soup. Simmer the soup to thicken slightly, another 2 to 3 minutes, and add salt to taste. Serve hot.

6 servings. Each serving: 316 calories; 1,496 mg sodium; 68 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 25 grams carbohydrates; 28 grams protein; 1.88 grams fiber.

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