Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Strawberry Soup



Creamy, sweet, berry-filled, pale pink strawberry soup is one of my most nostalgic foods. Growing up, my mother and I would enjoy a bowl of this heavenly creation at a little cafe called Sweetwater Landing in Ohio, I loved it. What kid wouldn't love a cold, sweet version of soup? It was like dessert for lunch. 


When I was thirteen my mother took me on a cruise to Mexico, which seemed like the ultimate height of luxury to my tween-brain, after all Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen made a movie set on a cruise ship! This was definitely going to be both an adventure at the high seas, and a very luxurious trip! So, imagine my excitement when we went to lunch in one of the ships cafes and the second dish the waiter brought out was strawberry soup! 


This was a more grown-up version, with mint on top, and a bit of a red wine flavor. I devoured two bowls. We were on one of those ridiculously gluttonous, wildly decorated, super dated 80's-90's style cruise ships.  The carpet was a riot of swirling primary colors and the dining room was as glittery and reflective as a disco ball. There was a tiki bar on the leto deck. In the dining room, the waiters wore tails.  You could get as many orders of any dish as you wanted. They would've probably brought me 5 bowls of strawberry soup if I'd asked. One night I ate two steaks. 


When I got home I became possessed with making strawberry soup, and in the following 14 years I've tried at least 7 recipes (including one that got you drunk after two bowls), but the one below is an amalgamation of them all, and is my favorite. Strawberry soup is definitely a retro kind of dish, it seems like something that would've been served at a fancy dinner party in the 1970's in someone's house with an astroturf living room with one of those leather Eames recliners, but that's what I love about it. I have astroturf as carpet in my bedroom. And besides, strawberries are insanely delicious, and heavy cream and red wine only improve dishes. The texture is creamy and luscious, the strawberry slices are delightful, and it's cold, making it the perfect dish for these hot August days! 


Strawberry Soup

32 oz Strawberries (about 5 cups chopped)
2/3 C Red Wine*
1 C Heavy Cream
1 Lemon, juiced
1/2 C Sugar
1 C Sour Cream
Mint, for garnish (optional)


Remove the tops of all the strawberries, and slice strawberries until you have 1 Cup of slices, set these aside. Roughly chop the rest of the strawberries (about 4 Cups) and place in a medium sauce pan. Add to the pan the sugar and the lemon juice. Heat over medium low until all the sugar has dissolved and the strawberries have released some of their juices, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and add the red wine. 

Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, or a regular one, puree the soup until smooth. Cool the soup in the refrigerator (or if you're impatient like me, place the pot in an icebath and stir it), until cool, then stir in the heavy cream and sour cream until smooth. Fold in the remaining strawberries, reserving some for garnish if you'd like. Serve chilled, topped with reserved sliced strawberries and mint, if you'd like. Enjoy!

*A note about the wine- you can add more wine if you want, sometimes I add a whole cup and cook it down a bit more. In fact, you can add 1 1/2 cups and then cook it a bit less and the soup becomes like a soup-cocktail hybrid. Just in case you want to get a little tipsy at lunch.

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