Monday, October 4, 2010

Cantelope-Peach Soup -- Another Soup for Summer

I know that summer is technically over, but I sort of lost the summer this year thanks to outside events. Then offspring went back to school and the Tishrei holidays attacked. So I never posted this in the hot weather. But peaches and cantelope are both still plentiful, so you can make this now. Or wait until next year.

The original recipe called for fresh peaches, so I'm going to show you how to deal with fresh peaches in making this soup. But to be honest, I have used both canned peaches (in juice or light syrup) and frozen peaches (both commercial and from my own peach tree) with equally good results.
When I use frozen or canned peaches, I aim for about a quart of peaches. When using fresh peaches, select six beautiful ripe peaches.
The peaches need to be peeled and pitted. The easiest way to get the peels off without losing lots of fruit is to parboil the peaches. Parboiling involves cooking the peaches briefly in boiling water and then immediately transferring them to ice water to stop the cooking.
Have the iced water prepared before dropping the peaches into the boiling water. I drop them in and let them boil for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Then I dip them out:
And drop them into the ice water.
Leave them in the ice water for 10 minutes or so for best results. Then pick them out, one at a time, and make a cut around the middle, cutting all the way down to the pit.
As you do this, the peel should start slipping off the peach. Just pull it off until the peach is naked:
Once the peel is off, cut wedges off the peach and put them into a saucepan. When you've finished all six peaches, you will have a pile of peach skins and peach pits to discard:
And a pan full of peach slices just waiting to be made into soup:
Add 1/4 cup white wine (dry or sweet, as you wish -- or leave it out altogether), 6 Tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled), about 1 Tablespoon of honey, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a dash or two of nutmeg to the peaches in the saucepan. Each of these ingredients can be increased or decreased to fit your family's taste.
Heat the peach mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and let the peaches stew for about 10 minutes, then take off the heat and let the peaches cool to room temperature.
The cooling process can be speeded up by placing the pan of peaches in the refrigerator or freezer. Just make sure that it doesn't start to freeze.
When cool enough, pour the peach mixture into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth:
The blended peach mixture can now be poured into a serving dish. I have a soup tureen, so I pour the peaches directly into the tureen:
The soup can be refrigerated until the next step is completed, or you can keep it out since the next step doesn't take much time.

Having taken care of the peach part of the cantelope-peach soup, it's now time to tackle the cantelope part. Pick a nice ripe cantelope, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds:
You will be cutting about 3/4 of the cantelope (minus the skin) into chunks and placing those chunks into your blender or food processor. There's no real need to clean the blender between the peaches and the cantelope, since it will all end up in the same soup bowl:
Save that last quarter of the cantelope for a bit. Add 1 cup of orange juice to the cantelope and blend until smooth.
Then add the cantelope mixture to the peach mixture that is already in your serving dish:
Stir the two mixtures together well and then return to the last quarter of the cantelope:
Cut up this last piece of cantelope into fairly small pieces -- small enough to pick up on a soup spoon.
Add the chunks to the soup:
Chill the soup for several hours. (I have been known to put the soup into the freezer for short periods of time, if it doesn't seem cold enough.)

And enjoy!