This is vibrant, simple, delicious, and make ahead. Who could ask for more?
My friend Ray gave me this recipe many years ago, and it always makes an appearance along with the local strawberries. We often served this soup at high summer for a brunch starter at the inn, but it serves nicely as dessert as well. It remains a hit with (adult) family and friends. Of course, the only time there are enough strawberries of any worth to make soup is when they are in season locally, and usually when you have picked your own!
Strawberry season extended
Although strawberry season is over for the most part here, one of our local berry farms has the ever-bearing strawberries still available, so I was able to extend my strawberry playtime. They are a little smaller, with lively strawberry flavor, and just what we need at this time of summer.
This chilled soup is fresh and delicious and really beautiful to look at as well! I chill little clear glass bowls so that they are frosted when I fill them, and my additions to the original recipe are the vanilla bean pod and the drizzle of luscious homemade crème fraîche to finish. You can also use sour cream or plain Greek yoghurt here as well.
This soup is not as sweet as other berry soups because of the addition of the wine, and the lower sugar count. Use this recipe with the same proportions for any number of summer berry and fruit soups. If you use blackberries or raspberries with really large seeds, you will want to strain the pureed mixture before continuing.
This is wonderful with all berries, as well as peaches and apricots when they are aplenty!
Double this recipe for a crowd.
Strawberry & Red Wine Soup
1 quart fresh strawberries
½ white sugar
1 cups water
1 vanilla bean
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Good pinch of Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
The grated zest of one large lemon
1 cup Rhine or dry red wine
Crème Fraîche thinned with a few drops lemon juice
Fresh mint leaves, optional
Puree the berries in a food processor. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds with the dull side of a knife, and add to the strawberries. Process until smooth, and let sit.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, water, and vanilla bean pod. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes to make a simple sugar syrup. Cool.
Add the cooled syrup to the berries along with the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and zest. Pulse until blended, and chill the whole thing in a bowl. Pop the wine and the serving dishes in the refrigerator too. You can do this the night before, or two hours before serving.
Just before serving, stir in the chilled wine, fill the bowls, and swirl a teaspoon or so of the crème fraîche on top; garnish with a few sliced strawberries and perhaps a mint leaf for a little color.
Non-alcoholic version: Substitute unsweetened cranberry juice for the wine.
Peaches and Cream Soup
Substitute fresh peaches for the strawberries, and a dry white wine for the red. You can use the crème fraîche, or just regular softly whipped cream.
Summer Mixed Berry Soup
Use a combination of raspberries and blackberries rather than the strawberries, and use a rose wine. I add an extra splash of raspberry liquor drizzled over the cream just before serving.
Late Summer Melon Soup
When you find the giant, lovely, sweet muskmelons from the local farms, use these as your base fruit, and a sweeter Chardonnay as your wine. Really delicious!
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