Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More cherries!

We have a long standing tradition in hour house called Soup Night. Ten years ago when I started working just weekends I wanted to find a way to stay connected with family and friends. Soup Night became the vehicle. Every Tuesday for 8 weeks in the fall we invite anyone who wants to join us in our home for homemade soup. I make two kinds of soup and we serve good bread and homemade chocolate chip cookies. The soup is always gluten free, the bread and the cookies, well they are not. I wouldn't subject my guest to gluten free bread! Soup is great comfort food and the weekly gatherings have become revered evenings of comfort and good company. After the 8 weeks I am often relieved, it is a great deal of work. But come spring and summer I am hankering for soup and an audience. We don't host host soup nights outside of our fall gatherings, it is just too much work but I continue to make soup and mostly experiment with new ideas. Lucky for me we have dear friends, Paula and Andrea, who are eager and willing to try my creations. This week they are getting cold cherry soup. Cherry soup is a quintessential Hungarian dish, usually made with tart cherries. I made a sweeter version using  bing cherries. While we were in Budapest I got a few varieties of pálinka, a traditional Hungarian double-distilled fruit brandy (double-distilled = gluten free). I used a dash of cherry pálinka whisked into some crème frâiche to drizzle on the top of the soup. The result was a very refreshing and delightful!

2 pounds fresh sweet or sour cherries, stemmed and pitted
2 cups of water
10 teaspoons of sugar, more if you use sour cherries
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup dry red wine

Wash, stem and pit the cherries. Place them in a pot along with the water, sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the wine and cook 3 more minutes. Remove from heat, remove the cinnamon stick. Blend the cooked cherries in a blender, food processor or using an immersion blender. I actually used a vitamix and then passed my soup through a chinois. The result was a very smooth soup. The recipe suggests reserving a few whole cherries to add to the purred soup for texture which I did not do. Chill several hours or overnight and garnish with a drizzle of crème frâiche if you like.

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