Halgrimson: Get creative with cold soupMany years ago, Sue and Dennis Doeden were my guests at dinner. Although I remember the soup I served, I do not remember the rest of the menu.
By: Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, INFORUM
Many years ago, Sue and Dennis Doeden were my guests at dinner. Although I remember the soup I served, I do not remember the rest of the menu.
It was summer and a cold soup seemed appropriate. So I put together some puréed peaches and day lilies from my little garden and added some homemade broth, and probably some plain yogurt and a little cream with a fresh day lily to garnish.
By the time the Doedens arrived, I had set out bowls of soup on the dining room table. Before eating, we sat down in the living room to talk for a while.
When we went to the table, Dennis looked a little puzzled that the soup had sat there so long that it would be cold.
He got over it and spooned up the cold soup with pleasure.
He wouldn’t be puzzled today with his wife, who happens to be a superb cook and talented food writer for publications such as The Forum. And I have a proprietary claim to her fame. She was a student in one of my cooking classes many years ago.
As a matter of fact, Dennis is no slouch in the kitchen either, having founded a group in Fargo when he was deputy editor of The Forum and another group in Bemidji, Minn., where he is publisher of the Bemidji Pioneer. The group is called PIGS, which stands for Preparing Incredible Gourmet Surprises.
A cold soup is a refreshing introduction to a light summer meal. Or it can be served after the meal. The classic cold soups are vichyssoise, a potato and leek soup from France and Gazpacho, which hails from the Andalusian region of Spain.
But a tasty cold soup can be made with most fruits and vegetables. After gazpacho and vichyssoise, my favorites are raspberry, strawberry, nectarine, melon and cucumber, avocado, pea, spinach, lettuce and parsley.
You can make a cold soup up as you go along. Start with puréed fruit – saving some whole fruit for garnishing. Add some chicken stock, a spoon of fresh lemon juice or white wine to enhance the flavors, and some plain whole-milk yogurt. Decorate with the fruit and a dollop of sour cream.
The cream adds a silkiness to the soup and charms the tongue. The same method can be used with vegetables.
For those of you who like specific amounts, I’ve included a few recipes:
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups halved fresh strawberries
1/2 cup cranberry-raspberry juice drink
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
1 carton (8 ounces) whole-milk yogurt
Sour cream to garnish
Raspberries and strawberries to garnish
Process or blend, raspberries, strawberries and fruit juice until smooth. Pour mixture into a saucepan and stir in wine and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Place in a large bowl; cover and chill 3 hours. Stir in yogurt. Divide soup among 4 bowls. Garnish with sour cream and fresh fruit. Makes 4 servings.
Note: This soup can be made with blueberries, cherries, pears, peaches or melon.
Cold Avocado Soup With Cilantro
4 nice, ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups cold chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon tequila (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Sour cream and cilantro sprigs to garnish
Process avocado, shallot, chicken broth, tomato paste, hot pepper sauce, lime juice and tequila and cilantro and whiz until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. To serve, divide the soup among four chilled bowls. Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of cilantro.
Note: Processing may have to be done in batches if your machine has a small bowl.
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/3 cup uncooked white rice
6 cups chicken stock
1 1/3 cups fresh spinach, washed and chopped
1 1/3 cups butter lettuce, torn into small pieces
1 1/3 cups chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Sour cream or plain whole-milk yogurt to garnish
Saute onion, carrot, celery until softened. Add rice and stock and simmer covered for about ½ hour. Add spinach, lettuce and parsley to rice, cover and cook for a few minutes until vegetables are wilted. Season to taste and cool soup before processing in batches until smooth. Refrigerate overnight. If necessary, thin with more broth when serving. Garnish with sour cream or yogurt and a sprig of parsley. Serves 6.
Readers can reach Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at email@example.com