My favorite thing about cooking is when things come out of nothing. After the holidays, we had an empty fridge, empty countertops… contents of a meal (or even a snack) nowhere in sight. I had a pear that was on the verge of way-too-ripe, half an onion… and then I noticed a sweet potato that I never remembered buying. I’ve seen recipes for butternut squash soup with pears, so I figured this would work just as well. I foraged through the back of the fridge and pantry for the rest of the ingredients. Then I remembered I had this delicious coconut/lemon zest/yogurt cream leftover from the night before that would become the perfect garnish to balance the bold indian flavors in the soup.
The result was a rich & creamy warming meal. The pear provided a sweet tang, the garam masala and paprika brought a smoky flavor. The coconut milk was lush, and the fresh sage brought it all down to earth.
Serves 3-4 (or up to 6 as a starter or side)
adapted from Sassy Radish
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 large sweet potato (or enough to equal just shy of 1 pound)
1 ripe pear, peeled and chopped
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup coconut milk (I used regular, light would also work)
4 sage leaves
coconut-yogurt cream (optional):
1/4 cup yogurt (I like skyr icelandic yogurt, greek, or soy would be fine too)
1/4 cup coconut milk (regular or light)
squeeze of lemon
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch of salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Poke holes in the sweet potato, wrap in foil, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until fork tender. (really depends on the size of your potato.
When the sweet potato is done, let cool slightly (until it’s cool enough to touch), peel, and cut into cubes (they will be messy cubes). In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent. Stir in garlic, garam masala and paprika and cook for one minute. Add cooked potato cubes, uncooked pear cubes and cook for two minutes. Add water, salt, sage and cayenne. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes.
Transfer mixture (work in batches if you need to) to a large blender and puree. Stir in coconut milk and taste for seasonings. Add more salt, or additional spices to your liking. If it’s too thick, add some more water, if you want it creamier add more coconut milk. I think I added a pinch more of paprika but keep in mind that if you plan to save some of the soup for another day, the flavors intensify quite a bit. Serving this immediately, it had a sweet, distinct pear flavor. Reheating it the next night, (after being in the fridge for about 24 hours) it was more rich and spiced… still sweet, but less pear-y.
Store any remaining soup in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze. On the second day, it also got a lot thicker, so I added some more water before reheating.
For yogurt-coconut cream, mix all ingredients together and taste and adjust. Serve on the side.