Pear and potato soup with sage [Vegan]

Jaymi's Notes:
Wow. What a soup! This amazing dish is simple to make, but boasts amazing flavor. The creaminess of a potato soup wrapped up in the sweetness of pears and the irresistible savory flavor of sage. It is a little reminiscent of butternut squash soup, but with its own unique twist. This is going to be a favorite from late summer, through autumn and into winter. It's so good that it just might just make it onto the table during Thanksgiving!

Because the pears I used have plenty of sweet flavor, I skipped the maple syrup listed in the ingredients. However, it could be a great addition if you're using less sweet varieties of pears as well as for giving the soup just a hint of that fall-harvest maple flavor. I also kept this vegan by using olive oil instead of butter, and skipping the blue cheese garnish. It was wonderful, and the subtlety of flavors is delightful. But of course the soup would also be delicious with the hint of buttery flavor and the tang of blue cheese to counter the sweet. This is a very flexible soup, so it is easy to adjust the ingredients to your liking.

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Kelly's Recipe:

This delicious pear soup is the perfect bridge between the late summer harvest and the need for a warming soup on a cool evening. Not only that, it is the perfect bridge between sweet and savoury. You won't see a lot of dessert or sweet recipes here in my column, because I just don't have a sweet tooth, but this was just the right mixture for me. My one regret is that I didn't have blue cheese, so I substituted gruyere. I'll have to make it again while pears are still in season, because blue cheese and pear is such a fantastic flavour combination.The original recipe for this had pancetta and creme fraiche which I didn't use. I originally planned to add some 18% cream, but I thought the taste of the soup was rich enough without the addition of the dairy. If you wanted to leave the cheese garnish off the top, it would still be a really wonderful soup, and it would be vegan.

This recipe is from the website Five and Spice.

Pear Soup

1 tablespoon butter
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes (around 1/2 inch)
1 medium-small carrot, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon maple syrup
5 pears peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3 cups vegetable broth
Crumbled blue cheese (a creamy, potent raw milk one is best, if you can get it) for serving
Salt and pepper to taste

1 . In a large pot add butter and heat over medium until foaming. Then, stir in the onion, turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the onion is soft. Do not let it brown.

2. . Stir in the garlic, potato, and carrot, cover again. Turn the heat to medium and cook another 10 minutes. Then, add in the maple syrup, pear, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, thyme, sage and nutmeg. Cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes to get the pear all coated with the syrup and other flavors.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

3. Add in the broth, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook, covered, until the potatoes and pears are soft, about 15 minutes.

4. Blend in batches until smooth, or use an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle blue cheese on top and serve immediately.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

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