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On a busy day, I needed a soup that could tolerate being prepared in fits and starts. I roasted the potatoes and steamed the pears early in the day and left things on simmer until I had time to focus. This recipe can be adapted for vegetarians or vegans by using vegetable stock and replacing the cream with a dairy alternative or the water used to steam the pears.
- 2 -3 lbs sweet potatoes
- 3 Asian pears
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 small hot chili pepper, pit and seeds removed, minced
- 32 ounces chicken stock
- 15 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
- 8 ounces light cream
- 1 cup cilantro leaf
- 1 cup coconut flakes, for garnish
- hot sauce
- Preheat oven to 400°. Roast scrubbed potatoes on a foil lined cooking sheet until fork tender, about 1 hour. Remove from heat, wrap loosely in foil and allow to cool. Set aside.
- Quarter and core two of the pears, reserving the third. Place in a steaming basket over a small amount of simmering water, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat, covered, and allow to cool.
- Heat the oil over medium low heat in a generous soup pot. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and chile and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pare the cooked, cooled potato, cut into chunks, and add to the pot.
- Peel the cooked, cooled pear, cut into chunks, and add to the pot. If desired, reserve the steaming water to thin the soup's consistency at the end of the recipe.
- Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and puree. (An immersion blender is a handy tool for this.).
- Return to stove and stir in unsweetened coconut milk and cilantro. Heat slowly until hot through, adding cream and/or the pear steaming water to reach desired consistency. Check seasoning.
- Meanwhile, quarter, core, and dice the reserved pear.
- Serve hot, garnished with a swirl of cream, if desired, coconut flakes, diced pear, and a cilantro leaf. Offer hot sauce for those who need more kick.