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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Curried Pear Soup with Sesame-Honey Yogurt Garnish

         Curried Pear Soup with Sesame-Honey Yogurt                              Photo by my son  Zachary Popovsky

                   Curried Pear Soup with 
             Sesame-Honey Yogurt Garnish
                                  by Victoria Challancin

I call this a bi-hemisphere soup.  Of course I am not referring to the hemispheres of the brain, but rather suggesting that this soup works perfectly for my Northern Hemisphere friends who are mainly snowed in right now, as well as my Southern Hemisphere friends who are basking in their balmy beginnings of summer. Served hot or cold, this tasty blending of sweet and savory flavors just works. It works at every possible level:  it smells divine, looks pretty, and tastes sublime. Subtle and deliciously nuanced, this soup is perfect for any weather.

In a recent class for Mexican cooks, we prepared this soup and served it hot.  I could tell that my students were looking askance at the recipe, not trusting it to come together in any sort of a pleasing way. Most of them have little experience with curry flavors, not understanding how beautifully they pair with not only savory dishes, but sweet ones as well.  What a surprise!  Across the board they loved the results.

When I was more of a purist than I have time to be today, I always made my own curry powder blends, changing them to suit different regional Indian dishes.  Sometimes, I still manage this, but often I just reach for Frontier Natural Product's Muchi Curry Powder, a premium-quality blend given to me by a loving friend.  Homemade or purchased, make certain to use a high-quality blend of spices--it will make all the difference in the flavor of your dish.
 Curried Pear Soup with Sesame-Honey Yogurt 

Cook's Notes:  If serving this soup cold, make sure to defat the chicken broth before adding it to the soup.
Recipe:  Curried Pear Soup with Sesame-Honey Yogurt Garnish
(Recipe from

1/3 cup unsalted butter
6 cups diced peeled pers
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups sliced leeks (white and light green parts only)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons high quality curry powder
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon liquid honey
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup plain yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the soup:  In a large saucepan melt butter and add diced pears, chopped onions, sliced leeks, and minced garlic.  Sauté for 2 minutes.  Add flour and curry powder and sauté until the pears become soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in chicken broth and dry white wine.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the soup is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup--it will take about 2 to 3 minutes.  Or you can use a blender or food processor.

For the yogurt garnish:  Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add sliced scallions and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes.  Add honey and sesame oil and cook for about one minute.

Remove from the heat and stir in plain yogurt.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired with salt and pepper.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the yogurt garnish.

 Curried Pear Soup with Sesame-Honey Yogurt 

Parting Shot:
 Photo by my friend Jan Quinn

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Please ask permission before using text or photos.  Thanks!


GlorV1 said...

Sounds like a great soup. I may try it. I made Lentil soup just the other day. Happy Holidays!

Eha said...

This has just bumped another first course off one of my Yule menus! All the ingredients I so love and in my case it will be served cold. Not that it is pear season as yet Down Under but happen to have some stashed away :) ! Love the sound of the garnish - reading the title thought sesame seeds were called for, but like the sesame oil! Definitely interesting!! The parting shot is of camellias? The beautiful big bush in front of my bedroom window has hundreds of blossoms ready to open and I do hope to get a Yule gift one morning :) !

Victoria of Flavors of the Sun said...

Happy Holidays to you both! And Eha, I am so envious that your camellias are blooming. I have a bush, but all it does is make hard little bud balls that never really open. Not sure why. Do try the soup--sooo good.

Eha said...

Vicki dearHeart ~ they are avid feeders: need lots of potassium and phosphorus - [smiling] perhaps you have been too busy! I have just heard of a friend trying to cure an old ewe with yogurt and rice on top of her hay ~ wonder whether camellias would like pear soup and yogurt too, sans the curry naturally!! [Sorry, Sunday humour!!!!!] said...

I think this is something I would like to prepare in summer. Vicki I take this time to thank you for your friendship and I wish you and your familiar a very Merry Christmas and a most wonderful new year.

Hotly Spiced said...

What a lovely looking soup, Victoria. It's not something I've heard of before but I love how it can be served both hot and cold. I love the quantities! xx

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Such an interesting soup…it sounds delicious, especially with the yogurt garnish.

Lorraine @ Not Quite NIgella said...

What a a divine sounding soup! I'm actually in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment so I'm loving the idea of this soup. Curried soups are always so full of flavour and spice :)

Joan Nova said...

ooh, curry, honey, pear, sesame, etc. The ingredients say it all!

Best wishes to you and your family for the holidays and a happy new year!

My Kitchen Stories said...

Sounds like an unusual and tasty little soup. Its a good way to get your vegies and fruit in one go!. Merry Christmas Victoria. I Look forward to reading more in 2014

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

I haven't thought much about soup in the summer but just looking through the ingredients and I think it's perfect any time of the year.