I had an idea, because I get a kick at being able to get fruits and vegetables at Granville Island Market in season and then build a meal or two around that ingredient (like the Iron Chefs, but not every dish on the menu). So I’m going to try and make this a monthly post (well, we’ll see if I can when January and February roll around, but for the time being, I think I’m probably good until November).
This month, we’ve seen a lot of blueberries and cherries at the market. Most of the cherries have been the sweet ‘Lapin’ variety, but just yesterday I saw one vendor who had Sour ‘Hungarian’ Cherries. I knew immediately that this was my chance to make the Eastern European chilled cherry soup that I remember having as a teenager. I’ve also been wanting to do my part to support the Okanagan cherry farmers, who lately have had some really tough times due to weather problems and, of course, rising fuel costs.
So here’s the recipe:
Hungarian Chilled Cherry Soup
(mostly from Joy of Cooking, with a few adjustments)
6 cups of pitted cherries: 4 cups sour ‘Hungarian’, 2 cups sweet ‘Lapin’.
2 cups Gewurtztraminer wine (or any other dry but interesting white wine, like an Australian or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc)
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
mint leaves and sour cream for garnish
Add half of the cherries to a large pot with 2 cups of water and the 2 cups of white wine. Bring to a boil and cook until the cherries are just tender (about 15 minutes). PurÃ©e either with a mini-blender in the pot (easiest) or separately in a food processor until it is smooth and return to the pot. In another bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch. Add some of the cooked cherry soup to it and mix until it is a smooth paste with most of the sugar and cornstarch semi-dissolved. Add that to the pot and stir.
Add the other half of the cherries, along with the lemon juice, orange juice and grated orange rind. Cook for another 10 minutes or so, for the newer cherries to get a little more tender. Taste; if it is too sweet, add lemon juice. If too sour, add sugar. Let cool and chill before serving.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and some mint leaves. It can be either served as a soup before the meal or as a dessert.
We had it tonight, followed by some Turkey Schnitzel, Farfel (which is not Farfalle, the bow-tie pasta, but a barley-shaped pasta that I serve with a little butter, salt and pepper and paprika), and some cole slaw. Not 100% authentic there, but we wanted some cold cabbage for the summer night. Cucumber salad with a sweet vinaigrette and fresh dill would probably work just as well. As our (nearly) neighbor in Cambridge, Julia Child would say, ‘Bon Appetit’.