Saturday, November 14, 2015

SWEET POTATO AND PEAR SOUP FOR A CROWD #recipe #Thanksgiving @AbbottMysteries

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.




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


·        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 enjoy

The Wolfe Widow, our third book collector mystery. 

 Leave a comment here by Sunday November 13th and we'll put your name in for a draw for a copy of your own. If your name is drawn and you already own a copy, we'll cook up another deal for you!

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  1. Happy Thanksgiving! :)

    The soup looks good. Thank you for the recipe and giveaway.

  2. This sounds fabulous - perfect for gray November days! I will definitely try it. Thanks MJ and Victoria
    Nancy R

  3. This sounds delicious and I like the way you can vary the recipe. Thanks for the chance to win.

  4. Delectable and appealing. Lovely for fall. Thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  5. Love this series!

    1. Leave a comment here by Sunday November 13th - do you mean the 15th?

  6. Never would have thought of the pears. This could be a good surprise addition to the Thanksgiving menu. Might even give Pep a taste ;-).

  7. Your soup sounds very delicious! Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway opportunity! I already have your book but wanted to say thanks anyway :)

    1. Thank you, Kim! If your name comes up, I'll send you something else. XO

  8. Sounds like a great book and the soup sounds yummy, thank you

  9. Soup is perfect. Yum. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  10. I love sweet potatoes fixed in all types of ways. Thanks for a chance to enter.

  11. Happy Thanksgiving to you also! I think you meant leave a comment by Sunday, Nov 15, not Nov 13. Looking forward to reading this and thanks for the chance to win.

    1. LOL! There's that Friday 13th thing again. Glad you caught it. Hugs. MJ/VA

  12. We were just visiting with a Canadian friend.
    This soup sounds lovely and I don't even particularly like pears. But the combination sounds like an excellent one.
    I guess we could use Lucy's food processor trick and skip all the chopping since it's all going to be blended. Peel and process and cook.

    1. Great suggestion, Libby! We are making a batch tonight and I'll try that. Hugs, MJl

  13. This soup sounds delicious. I never would have thought to add pears to soup. Yum.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  14. The soup sounds great but the book sounds so good and i enjoy all your books.

  15. I can never have enough sweet potato recipes! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Pears in soup? I'll have to try this. I'd love to win your book, too.

  17. The soup and book sound good.

  18. What an unusual, but I'm certain is a delicious combination, Yum!

  19. I think I may have to stake a claim to Canada so I can give thanks twice, too. Mmm, pears and sweet potatoes! Must try!

  20. I love this recipe! It's divine. Thank you for sharing today!

  21. My son had changed from vegetarian to vegan. I have been scrambling to find interesting recipes that are filling and festive. Thanks so much for sharing this soup recipe, it will work very nicely for holiday or regular day. Am thrilled.

  22. Oh, my! What a delicious soup idea! I love these recipes and being made aware of another author and great reading adventure!

  23. That soup recipe sounds wonderful. I will try it for Christmas. Thank you!