I have a temporary job right now cooking lunches and dinners for some friends who are in the putting up an ambitious and beautiful abstract puppet interpretation of The Rite of Spring at Lincoln Center. If you do not work in theater, you would be astonished to discover the kind of long hours and level of focus required to produce a show. Sometimes you only have time to eat if someone who loves you sets food right in front of you and demands that you eat. It is a highly rewarding and physically punishing line of work that requires nourishment!
So, I am focusing on cooking the tried, true and fortifying these days, rather than tweaking new recipes for the blog. Luckily, I had made and photographed this soup last year. By the time I was finished writing it up, pear season had passed. So, this has been sitting in drafts waiting for the arrival of autumn.
This is a good soup for a tea party. It is both sweet and savory and would be fabulous served with a selection of sweet and savory tarts. I’d suggest a plum ricotta tart and a roasted cauliflower and caramelized onion tart.
This recipe is from the Nantucket Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase. My friend Sabrina recommended it to me after I commented on my secret love of over the top decadent recipes from the 1980s. This soup recipe is not really that expensive to make, but it is fancy. I did use coconut milk instead of heavy cream, because although I love decadent food, my stomach seems determined to gradually force me to remove everything fun from my diet. The coconut milk is a good substitute, but it is better at room temperature rather than chilled. By the way, the soup is also fine without any cream finish at all!
My favourite thing about this recipe is the addition of ground coriander seed. It is a perfect lemony compliment to the sweetness of the pears and the spice of the arugula.CHILLED POTATO, PEAR AND ARUGULA SOUP
Adapted from the Nantucket Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1 red onion, minced
- 3 stalks celery, minced
- 2 quarts homemade chicken stock
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 5 ripe pears, peeled cored and diced
- 4 cups packed arugula, rinsed and chopped
- 2 cups coconut milk (or half and half, or heavy cream, or skip it)
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- salt and white pepper
- Melt the butter in a stockpot. Add the onion, celery and a bit of salt. Saute for 7 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, white wine and potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are tender.
- Add the pears and arugula and simmer for 5 minutes more.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the coconut milk or cream (if you are using it).
- Blend the soup until it is smooth and season with the coriander, salt and white pepper.
- Serve room temperature or chilled.