Rhubarb-Strawberry Soup

I’m normally not one to tackle recipes that call for fussy ingredients. But there are times when something a little more high maintenance pays off.

This past weekend I decided to pull out the stops. Few things remind me of spring more than cherry-red rhubarb stalks. Strawberries appeared this week at farmers markets throughout St. Louis. I started craving the two mingled together.

This cold soup comes from the Fawn Brook Inn, a charming little restaurant tucked away in Allenspark, Colorado. The chef there makes some of the best cold and hot soups I’ve ever tried. These aren’t soups you throw together in a few minutes. Some of the ingredients require running all over Timbuktu to find. In the end, I used Grand Marnier in place of strawberry liqueur. I couldn’t find strawberry liqueur anywhere. I also skipped the vanilla bean when making the fruit stock and saved $8. Regardless, the soup turned out fantastic.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Soup
The Fawn Brook Inn Cookbook

1 cup fruit stock (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon rose water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 cup strawberry liqueur (this is preferred; Grand Marnier produced good results. Triple Sec or Creme de Cassis probably would, too.)
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch long chunks
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
Fresh mint leaf for garnish

In a saucepan combine stock, rosewater, lime juice, liqueur, and cream. Add the rhubarb and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until rhubarb is tender. Do not overcook. Puree in a food processor. Whisk in the creme fraiche, add the sliced strawberries and refrigerate until cold. Garnish the soup with strawberry slices and fresh mint.

Serves 4.

Basic stock for cold fruit soups
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 cups dry Riesling wine
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick, about 3 inches long, broken into small pieces
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon lemon grass, chopped
1 vanilla bean, very finely chopped (I skipped the vanilla bean)
4 whole allspice berries
4 white pepper corns
3 cloves
2 star anise

Combine and crush last four spices in a mortar.

In a saucepan combine the chicken stock, wine, maple syrup, and all spices and herbs, including chopped vanilla bean. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Strain the stock with a fine wire-mesh sieve.

Yields 1 cup.


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