Happy New Year everyone~! I hope this post finds each and every one of you happy, healthy, well rested and on a beeline-course towards your dreams!
For some reason, the New Year doesn’t reeeeeally start until after Three Kings Day for me – which is actually a public holiday in our little corner of the world – at least from a regular-work-day perspective. In other words: the cozy calm and quiet of the week between the years gets a little cherry on top – stormy, wet and altogether nasty January outside, bingeworthy books, cozy blankets, lots of tea and yummy wintery comfort food inside. Yay!
Of course, there’s no extended downtime in our house without a little gaming adventure here and there – and of course I found something within the depths of the Tyrian Culinarians’ Guilds’ archives that fit the theme of the ongoing winter-zen week perfectly.
How’s that for a heart and soul warming icky-weather repellant? Here’s what you need for 4 servings~
The Wintery Yam Soup with Roasted Pears, Toasted Pecans and Lingonberries
400g Yams or Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into ~1cm dice
100g Floury Potatoes, peeled and cut into ~1cm dice
1 Brown Onion, finely chopped
1 Red Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
½ Lemon, Zest and Juice
2 Tbsp Brown Butter
400ml Vegetable Stock
100ml Quince, Pear or Orange Juice – all three work deliciously well if you make sure the juice of your choice isn’t heavily sweetened which, sadly, rules out most quince- and about half of all pear juices.
2 Sprigs of Thyme, leaves picked
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Spiced Pear Syrup – you can either use my Spiced Pear Syrup recipe over here or snoop around in the drinks/cocktail section of a well-sorted supermarket near you.
75-100ml Low Fat Cooking Cream
Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste
100g Pecans, lighly toasted
4 Tbsp Preserved Lingonberries/Cowberries
1 generous Pinch of Cayenne
For the Pears:
2 Pears, halved, cored and sliced into 6-8 wedges each
1 Splash of Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Pinch of Salt
4 Scrapes of Tonka Bean
2 Scrapes of Nutmeg
1 Pinch of Hot Chili Flakes
1) Let’s start at the end – grab your pears and place them in a bowl large enough to comfortably accommodate them plus some turning-over room.
2) Add the lemon juice, sugar, salt, tonka, nutmeg and chili flakes to a second, smaller bowl and whisk away until the sugar grains have dissolved.
3) Pour the marinade over the pears and give them a gentle turn-over until they’re all evenly coated/dotted with chili flakes.
4) Set the bowl aside and turn your attention to the soup pot that, any time now, should be sitting on medium-high heat.
5) Add the brown butter, onions and garlic – give everything a nice shake and leave them to their own devices until they start to turn translucent.
6) Once that’s done, add the potato dice for about 3 mins.
7) Deglaze the whole shebang with stock, lemon juice and your pick of quince/pear/apple juice.
8) Wait until the liquids work up a nice bubble, then turn the heat down to medium-low.
9) Stir in the lemon zest, thyme leaves and a generous pinch each of salt, pepper and cayenne.
10) Pop on a lid and allow the soup to simmer away for about 15-20 mins – until the potatoes are deliciously tender.
11) Take the pot off the heat and stir in the maple syrup, pear syrup and cooking cream.
12) Transfer everything into the jug of a blender and whizz the into smooth yumtasticness – or put your stick blender to work until the same goal is reached.
13) Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary – another splash of lemon juice works wonders if the sweet potatoes are on the really sweet side of things. Depending on the oomph in your syrup, a bit of cinnamon might also turn some tables.
14) Place the soup back on the stove – lowest setting possible – to keep it warm, and retrieve the pears.
15) Fire up a large pan on high heat and, once it’s hot, spread out the pear wedges inside.
16) Give them a nice sear on each side until the brown sugar in the marinade caramelizes – 1-2 mins per side should suffice.
17) Time to plate up! Ladle the soup into warm bowls, top each serving off with a couple of pear slices, drop a generous heap of Lingonberry Preserve on top, add pecans by the loadfuls, grab a spoon and…