I’ll be honest. While to some the combination of pears and Sriracha chili sauce sounds odd, to me it sounded excellent. I love to use fruit in savory cooking, and I love to add heat to recipes in general (I can’t wait for the opportunity to do a spicy dessert). As my housemates know well, love to make soup and I love any excuse to use my immersion blender. Since I just recently made the transition back to winter in Connecticut (though I must say, it’s been very mild thus far), I figured that a nice sweet and spicy soup would be fantastic.
There’s also the fact that my apartment (mostly Sam) goes through the stuff like it’s going out of style. Here’s evidence:
From the photo it’s hard to tell that a little bit of this stuff goes a long way. For those who aren’t so familiar, Sriracha is a Thai (though also very popular in Vietnamese cuisine) hot sauce made from chilis, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. I’ve also seen it referred to as “rooster sauce” since some bottles feature a rooster on the packaging. I figured that using garlic in my recipe would bring out those notes in the hot sauce.
When thinking about pairing it with pear, I thought back to Thanksgiving when Ben’s mom, Ann, made an awesome pear and ginger cranberry sauce. I thought that since pear and ginger were so good together in that recipe, and since ginger and garlic are a very common combination in lots of Asian cooking, the two aromatics would tie the hot sauce and the pears together really well. In my (not so) humble opinion… I was totally right.
- 6 medium pears, cored and thinly sliced
- 3½ tsp Sriracha chili sauce
- 3 Tbsp lime juice, about 1½ limes
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 3 small leeks, white part only, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 medium yellow sweet potatoes, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger root, chopped, about a 1-inch cube
- 6 cups vegetable broth, or water
- 1 Tbsp cane sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add 1 tsp of the oil to a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the pears and cook until they become soft and caramelized. You may want to pour off some of the liquid that the pears release so that they can brown more easily, but reserve that liquid to add back in later. In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp of the lime juice and 1 tsp of the sriracha. Once the pears are nice and caramelized, add this mixture and cook until the pears are nicely coated. Set the pears aside in a bowl and return the pot to the heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and add the remaining oil and the leeks. Sweat them down until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Then add the sweet potatoes and cook until they begin to brown a bit. Add the ginger.
- When all of the vegetables are soft and a little browed, add the vegetable broth or water. Here’s where you would also want to add the pear juice back in if you set it aside. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the pears back in. You can reserve some of them for a garnish if you like. Simmer the soup for about 20-30 minutes, or until everything is very soft.
- Using your preferred method, puree the soup. I use an immersion blender, but you could easily cool the mixture and blend it with a food processor.
- Once the soup is very smooth and silky, add the remaining sriracha, lime juice and sugar. Then season with salt and pepper to taste. For those who prefer more heat, garnish with a bit more sriracha and enjoy!
Jana (a member of my improv comedy troupe, Desperate Measures, my new partner in swimming-crime, and a lover of all things spicy) had the idea to soak an english muffin in the soup and eat it with a poached egg on top. Definitely the best post-swimming food ever (even if you’re just getting an orientation to swim class and not actually getting in the pool, as was the case on this particular day). For lunch, dinner, and even breakfast, this soup really hit the spot. That’s a good thing too since there’s still a big pot of it sitting in my fridge.