For Thanksgiving this year, we updated a version of one of our favorite soups, which MJ introduced to Mystery Lovers Kitchen a few years ago: sweet potato and pear, with a hint of cream and maple and extra lime for zing. This version makes a much bigger batch, has more intense flavors and gives you more options for modifications to suit allergies.
We confess that we are head over heels in love with this soup.
As you know, Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated the second Monday of October. We liked our soup so much that we’ll serve it again on November 26th. Yes, we’ll have turkey and trimmings too. We have lots to be thankful for.
The recipe made enough for twelve people. If you have a crowd around your table, this will make an excellent first course. Anytime you have a crowd these days, there are often food intolerances. The good news is that this soup is gluten-free and if you leave out the optional cream, it could be dairy-free too. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and it will be vegetarian as well.
Even if you don’t have a crowd, this soup freezes beautifully and is terrific when you need something special in a hurry. In fact you can make it ahead, freeze it and make your life easier on the big day. Or serve half and keep the rest for surprise guests. We produced the second half of ours for an impromptu lunch last week and got raves. Or you can simply make half.
SWEET POTATO AND PEAR SOUP FOR A CROWD
ALL YOU NEED IS:
5 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
2 cups chopped onion
½ cup chopped carrot
¾ cup chopped celery
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 ripe pears, peeled and diced
1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
10 cups of chicken broth. We used homemade but good quality low-salt purchased broth would be fine too
½ cup whipping cream, optional
1 ½ tablespoon of maple syrup (or a bit less if you don’t like sweetness)
Juice of two limes, or to taste.
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
12 sprigs fresh thyme
ALL YOU DO IS:
· Chop pears and veggies.
Heat butter or oil on medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and sauté for 10 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, pears and thyme and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add paprika and chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until sweet potato is soft.
· Purée with immersion blender right in the pot (or use a food processor or blender and then return to the pot. Blend well because the pears take a while to break down.
· Add cream, maple syrup and lime juice. Simmer for 5 minutes. If soup is too thick add a little extra broth, cream or lime depending on your taste test.
· Season with salt and pepper to taste.
· Serve with a sprig of fresh thyme or a dollop of whipped cream.
Have a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving Day.
Victoria Abbott is actually the mother-daughter collaboration between artist and photographer, Victoria Maffini and her mother, Mary Jane Maffini, award-winning author of three other series and two dozen short stories.
We wish all of you and your families a wonderful and tasty time on Thanksgiving!
If you are looking for a mystery that takes place at Thanksgiving, we think you'll enjoyThe Wolfe Widow, our third book collector mystery.
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