Monday, May 01, 2006

Spring Soups 

Spring soups are fresh and full of fragrance. Asparagus is up, and sorrel, and fiddleheads. Roses are in bloom, and lavender, and the mints are ready to harvest. These and more of spring's bounty can make some of the best ever soups.

One of my favorites is Apple Rose Soup.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ripe apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, cinnamon
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted, divided
1 cup half and half
1 cup edible rose petals

I prefer to use strong apples like Winesaps, Granny Smiths, and Cameos. The Pink Lady Apple is also a good candidate for this soup.

Melt the butter in a saucepan large enough to hold 6 cups. Skim the foam from the butter, and don't let it brown. Add the apples and sauté, tossing often, until golden and soft. Add the sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and stir until the sugar melts.

Add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Adjust the seasonings here, bearing in mind that you'll be adding rose petals and cream.

Transfer the broth mixture to a blender and add half the toasted almonds, half and half and 3/4 cup of the rose petals. Puree the soup until smooth. If you want a smoother soup, sieve it, then strain it through muslin or cheesecloth to achieve the smoothness you want.

Chill the soup thoroughly before serving. Garnish with the remaining rose petals and toasted almond slices.

Serves 4

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