Last of the summer wine recipes

Fresh apricots are a great accompaniment to chicken dishes, since they’re somewhat tart and not too sweet. (Photo from stacyknows.com)

As promised in the previous post, this is the last of three summer wine recipes.  I’ll be posting more recipes, of course – but this is the last of a series designed specifically for summer eating.  In addition, I made two challenges to myself.  First, each recipe has to contain a fairly significant amount of wine:  at least a cup of wine for four to six servings.  The second qualification is that the wine shouldn’t cook for very long, to preserve some of the wine’s freshness.

I think this recipe is particularly fun and unusual – Apricot and White Wine Soup.  Fruit soups in summertime aren’t new to most people these days.  For example, watermelon gazpacho is a perennial favorite, and strawberry soup is a classic for early summer.  Still, those use raw fruit, and this is a recipe for lightly cooked fruit and wine, with just a few other ingredients. 

Apricots run the gamut from fairly tart to lightly sweet.  If you’ve never tried them fresh and only had apricot jam, you’d be right in wondering what the fuss is all about.  Most commercial apricot jams and preserves have so much sugar that they taste like they could be made with almost any orange-gold fruit.  But fresh apricots are a great accompaniment to savory foods, particularly chicken.  In fact, I serve a cup of the soup on the same plate with all sorts of chicken dishes, like this Ina Garten recipe (an old standby in my house).  And it’s a great soup to serve with a chicken salad sandwich.

Les Terrasses de Perret Muscat Sec ($12) is ideal both in the soup and for serving with it.  Muscat is usually a sweet dessert wine.  But dry Muscat has all the floral aromas and flavors without the sweetness.  Smell it before you taste it – the aroma tricks you into thinking it’ll be a sweet wine, which makes it all the more surprising when you taste it.  It’s also a great wine for spicy dishes, and for Asian or Indian food.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this summer diversion.  Next post I’ll be back to the wine talk you expect from me!

Cheers!

Tom

Apricot and White Wine Soup

Serves 4-6

12 apricots, quartered and pits removed (2 to 2-1/2 pounds)

2 – 4 tablespoons honey

1 orange, zest removed in strips with a vegetable peeler, and juiced

1/8 teaspoon salt

1-1/4 cups dry but floral white wine (such as Viognier, Clairette, or Dry Muscat), divided use

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional topping:  6 tablespoons Mascarpone, very soft (or barely warmed in the microwave)

Combine the apricots, 2 tablespoons of honey, the orange juice and zest, salt, and 1 cup of the wine in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.  Remove the orange zest pieces and puree or put through a food mill.  Chill for at least 2 hours.

Before serving, add the vanilla and the remaining ¼ cup of wine.  Taste and add up to 2 tablespoons more honey if the mixture is too tart.  You’re not looking for it to be sweet, but the honey will balance the acidity of the soup.  Serve cool or cold.  Top each serving with a tablespoon of softened Mascarpone.

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