1 cup shallots, sliced
1 bay leaf
1/4 t ground ginger
3/4 t curry powder
1 t thyme, chopped
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 small potato
1 1/2 lbs. carrots, peeled and diced
1 3/4 cup chicken stock
1 cup apple cider
1 1/4 cup water (add more or less to get desired consistency)
3/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Cook shallots, bay leaf, ginger, curry powder, and thyme in butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened and pale golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel potato and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
Add potato to shallot mixture along with carrots, broth, cider, water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until carrots are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
Purée soup in 2 batches in a blender until smooth, transferring as blended to a large bowl (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to saucepan to reheat if necessary. Serve soup sprinkled with almonds.