Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Minimalist's Zucchini Pear Soup

This is another one that I made a few weeks ago but never got around to posting.  Those of you who are regular New York Times readers might know that Mark Bittman aka The Minimalist writes a weekly column in the Wednesday Dining section. He usually takes seasonal ingredients and makes a simple dish with them, hence his title of The Minimalist. A few weeks ago, he provided us with a recipe for Zucchini Pear Soup.

I made the soup that night, but I threw in a few modifications. So while I can’t take credit for the recipe or even the idea to put these two ingredients together, I can take credit for sneaking in some wine and for cutting down the prep time by grating the ingredients rather than chopping them.
I was amazed by how well the zucchini and pear flavors went together; the combination of the two perfectly captures those late summer/early fall days, so many of which we’ve been having recently (despite the fact that it is late October).
Zucchini Pear Soup
Adapted from Mark Bittman
(makes 2-3 servings)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon butter (or olive oil for vegan version)
½ carrot
½ medium onion or 1 very small onion, finely diced
½ large or 1 small Yukon gold potato, cut into small chunks
Leaves from 8 sprigs of thyme (about ¼ teaspoon)
2 medium zucchini (I used 2 small yellow and 1 medium green)
¼ cup sweet white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Bosc pear (firm but ripe)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup water
4-6 mint leaves (for garnish)


In a large pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. In the meantime, peel the carrot and grate it with the large holes of a box grater. Add the carrot, onion, potato, thyme, and a large pinch of salt and pepper to the pot. Cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. (Do not let the vegetables brown.)
In the meantime, grate the zucchini.
Add the wine and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the grated zucchini and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the zucchini is cooking, core and grate the pear. After the zucchini has softened, add the grated pear, vegetable broth, and water. Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Let the soup cool a little, then puree it in two batches in either a blender or food processor.
(If you’re using mint, tear a few of the leaves into small pieces and garnish each serving with the torn mint and one whole mint leaf.)

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