Vegetarian Recipe: Cold Spiced Cherry Soup

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Every week on the Good Food Blog we celebrate Meatless Monday by sharing a vegetarian recipe from our archives.

Russ Parsons, food editor of the LA Times, first shared this recipe for Cold Spiced Cherry Soup on June 17, 2006.

Keep reading for the full recipe…

Cold Spiced Cherry Soup
This slightly sweet soup is an adaptation of a classic Hungarian dish. It makes an elegant first course for an early summer dinner.
(6 to 8 servings)

8 whole cloves

12 whole allspice

1 3-inch cinnamon stick

12 whole black peppercorns

1 (750-ml) bottle rosé wine

2 cups water

1/3 cup sugar

2 lbs cherries, stemmed and pitted

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp almond extract

3/4 cup crème fraiche or yogurt, plus more for serving

Cut a square of cheesecloth about 5 inches square. Place the cloves, allspice, cinnamon and peppercorns in the center. Bring the corners together and tie the packet shut with a piece of string. (Alternatively, you can also place the spices in a large tea ball).

Bring the wine, water and sugar to a simmer in a large saucepan and add the spice packet. Cook until the wine loses its raw alcohol smell and mellows in flavor, about 15 minutes. Cooking gently will help the wine retain its delicate fruit.

Add the cherries and cook, at a gentle poach, until the cherries have slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar and the almond extract. Taste and adjust the vinegar; the soup should be slightly sweet, but with a definite tart backbone. Transfer to a lidded bowl and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours.

Just before serving, discard the spice packet and add the crème fraiche. Replace the lid and shake gently to mix well. The soup should be lightly creamy and pale pink. There should not be any trace of unincorporated cr–me fraiche.

Ladle the soup into chilled bowls and garnish with a small spoon of crème fraiche swirled into the center.