(Mentioned in Fine Cooking’s Soup Week.)
Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful MOMS out there!! Indulge, Pamper yourselves & Have a Blast!
While I impatiently sat at the dentist’s office, leafing through the stack of magazines, I came across a name of a recipe, which became the inspiration of this Berry Soup. It was some Chilled Soup with Mint Vanilla Crisps. I do not recollect reading the recipe. Most of berry soups I looked elsewhere, had cream or yogurt swirled into it, & somehow all those reminded me of a smoothie. I agree they are not the same, but the way the brain gets wired once, it is hard to let go.
Joys of Spring are the Berries & the Cream! It is berries galore…The stores in the shelves are abundantly stacked with bright red, to blueberries to the dark purple/black blackberries. ” Sale” stickers are stuck everywhere… We could just eat these colorful, juicy nutrition packed berries all day long. I keep frozen berries during the rest of the year, but at this time fresh boxes come home every other day.
I do not know how the recipe in the magazine went about, but the idea was all I needed. With the chilled berry soup, with mint cream & crisps ringing in my heart, I decided on a slightly spicy soup with creamy & minty yogurt & almond & chocolate crisps. The combination of strawberry, mint, cream, nut & chocolate sounded just right.
I suppose this soup can be done with any berries. Blue Berries – another of my favorite, would be of a wonderful purple hue! Or may be with some mixed berries? Here for a Berrylicious celebration of Spring is Spiced Strawberry Soup with Mint Cream and Choco-Nut Crisps.
Ingredients: (About 5 servings.. depending on how big the serving is going to be:-D)
- 2 pounds strawberries, hulled, 1.5 pounds coarsely chopped, 1/2 pound chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
- Black Pepper (more or less to taste, I had mine kind of spicy)
- 1 Teaspoon Orange zest
- 1/2 Teaspoon grated Fresh Ginger
- 1/2 Cup Orange Juice
- 1 Cup Water
- 4 Tablespoons chopped Fresh Mint Leaves.
For the Cream:
- 1 Cup Greek Yogurt (If you are not using Greek Yogurt, Strain & Drain Regular Plain Yogurt, to get rid of all the liquid & make it thick)[ You are free to use Whipped Cream/Regular Cream or Sour Cream, this is a healthier version & really it was good too]
- 3 Tablespoons of Sugar
- 20 -25 Very Finely Chopped Fresh Mint Leaves
For the Crisp:
- 1/2 Cup Almonds, Toasted & Roughly Crushed
- 1/2 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
Set aside the 1/2 lb chopped strawberries till ready to assemble.
Combine 1.5 lbs of Strawberries, with orange juice, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, sugar, orange zest, ginger & the mint leaves in a pan.
Put the pan on the stove & simmer the berry mixture for about 25 minutes, till the strawberry releases all the juice. The mix will get slightly thick, the strawberries will be limp. The liquid should not get thick & syrupy.
Prepare an ice bath. Pour the above mixture in a container & quickly put the container in the ice bath. Stir it for about 10 minutes till the mixture is chilled.
Remove the Cinnamon Stick. Puree the Berry Mix & Strain. The texture & consistency of the soup should be like a regular tomato soup, not gooey thick. Chill the Soup.
Preparing the Cream:
Process the Sugar & the Mint Leaves to form something like a thick, coarse paste. I used a rolling pin & crushed everything together.. It was easy & took only a couple of minutes.
Add this to the Yogurt, & whisk till it combines well & the yogurt is creamy & smooth. Chill.
Preparing the Crisps:
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave (or on a water bath if you prefer). Stir in all the roughly crushed Almonds, but about 1.5 Tablespoons.
Put a sheet of parchment paper on a plate. Spread out thinly the Chocolate & the Nut mix. I spread it out in a rough uneven circle, like a very thin cookie. Sprinkle the rest of the crushed Almonds on this & lightly press with the back of the spoon. Put it in the refrigerator till the chocolate hardens.
I broke them into pieces.. unevenly. If you want, you can cut them into fancy shapes.
In the individual serving bowls/cups, put a couple of spoons of chilled chopped strawberry.
Pour the chilled Berry Soup over this.
Add a Dollop of the Creamy Mint Yogurt.
Garnish with the Choco- Nut crisps, more strawberry & mint leaves, with more crisps on the side.
This could be dessert or may be served as a soup as the first course of a summer dinner. But for us this is an anytime thing. Sitting at the backyard with family or friends & sipping this so delicious cool soup.. is something which I always look forward to. Do I need to mention that the Choco-Nut Crisps disappeared in no time? Here it goes to Lisa’s Kitchen for No Croutons Required, the theme is Berries this time.
The Soup, the Yogurt Cream & the Crisps can all be prepared ahead, & assembled when ready to serve.