Cold Curried Peach Soup

from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook

2 t unsalted butter
1 C chopped red onion
2 t grated peeled fresh ginger
2 t grated garlic
2 T minced fresh basil
2 T minced fresh cilantro
2 t curry powder
1 whole clove
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 t brown sugar
1 large ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 large peaches (about 1 1/2 lbs), peeled and chopped
1 1/2 T unsweetened coconut, toasted
1 C nonfat buttermilk or nonfat plain yogurt (optional)

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat, swirling the pan to coat the bottom. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, basil, cilantro, curry powder, and the clove, reduce the heat to medium-low, and saute, stirring often, until the onions are soft, about 12 minutes. Add the lemon juice and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the brown sugar, tomato, and peaches. Cover and let simmer, stirring often, until the peaches are so soft they seem to be melting, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

While the soup is simmering, you can toast the coconut. To toast the coconut, spread it out in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Bake at 300F until the coconut turns golden brown, about 3 minutes depending on your oven.

Returning to the soup, discard the clove (if you can find it). Using a food processor or blender (immersion is preferred), puree the soup. Strain it (if necessary) by pouring it through a sieve, pushing the pulp against the sieve with the back of a wide wooden spoon.

Stir in the coconut. Cover the soup and chill it thoroughly, at least 4 hours. Stir in the buttermilk or yogurt before serving, if desired. Serve cold. This soup makes a fantastic starter course for a meal on the grill. This recipe makes enough for 4 and can be easily doubled (or more). Super yum.

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