Pear and Gouda Soup with Toasted Walnut-Cranberry Salsa
2 ripe pears, cored, peeled, and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 unpeeled red-skinned pear, cored and julienned
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons minced toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped dried cranberries
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
to complete the recipe:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
4 ounces baby Gouda cheese, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup pure apple juice or sweet white wine such as Sauternes
salt and ground white pepper to taste
freshly grated nutmeg for garnish
- To make the soup, combine the pears, stock, ginger, and nutmeg in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer until the pears are very tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- To make the salsa, stir together all the salsa ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
- To complete the recipe: in a separate small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth, about 1 minute. (Do not let it brown.) Remove from the heat. Gradually whisk in the milk. Place the pan back on medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to simmer. Reduce the heat to low and stir contantly until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- Puree the pear mixture in a blender until smooth. Add to the cheese sauce and stir constantly over low heat until heated through. Gradually stir in the apple juice and continue to heat, but do not let the soup come to a boil. Season to taste.
- Top each serving with a sprinkling of nutmeg and a mound of salsa.
Paulette recommends making this soup and salsa just before serving; in other words, leftovers aren't the best way to enjoy this.