Monday, December 8, 2014

Celery Pear Bisque

This is a recipe that combines ingredients that you normally wouldn't think of together - pears and celery.  The combination of flavors and textures is wonderful.  My whole family loves this!

I usually use Bartlett pears, but today (as you can see from my pictures) I had a lot of Asian pears on hand, so I used those.  I have also made this recipe using canned pears.  If using canned pears, be sure to get the light syrup, and rinse off the pears before using.  Otherwise, you may have too much sweetness in your bisque.

4 1/2 Tablespoons of vegan margarine
6 cups thinly sliced celery (~12 stalks, or 1 good sized bunch) - reserve the leaves for garnish
3 cups pears, cored, peeled, and diced (2 cans rinsed, if you don't have fresh - get light syrup)
1 cup diced onion (about 1 small onion)
3 small bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme if you have it)
1 1/2 Tablespoon of flour
5 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
a spinkle of pepper (or to taste)
3/4 cups of raw cashews, soaked in water for 3+ hours

1.  Soak the cashews in enough water to cover them for 3 hours up to overnight, or as long as possible if you didn't plan ahead.
2.  Melt the margarine in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.
3.  Add the celery, pears, onion, bay leaves, and thyme.  Cook until celery softens (about 8 minutes).
4.  Add the flour and the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 20 minutes.
5.  While the soup simmers, drain the water from cashews.  Place the cashews into a blender, and cover with just enough fresh water to cover the cashews.  Blend on high for about a minute, until completely smooth.  If you feel some of this 'cashew cream' between two fingers, the texture should not be gritty - if it is, keep blending until smooth.
6.  Remove the bay leaves from the soup.  Puree the soup with a hand blender right in the pot (or in a regular blender in small batches if you don't have a hand blender).
7.  Add the salt and pepper.
8.  Stir the cashew cream into the soup.  Reheat briefly before serving.  Garnish with finely chopped celery leaves.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe given out at a free vegan cooking class hosted by Jennifer Russell-Fenus, the author of Recipes From The Kitchen Of A Self-Proclaimed Veganista.  She adapted her recipe from a recipe posted elsewhere, but I no longer have the information on where she originally obtained it.

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