Chilled Peach and Mango Soup

From the day the first cling peaches from South Carolina and Georgia show up in Southern markets and on farm stands till the last freestone Elbertas and Georgia Belles disappear in September, cooks utilize the luscious fruit in everything from elegant soups to cobblers to preserves. Traditional chilled peach soup has always been considered an ideal starter to a light, casual summer lunch, but when, a couple of years ago, I decided to toss the flesh of a ripe mango into the blender with the peaches, a sublime revelation occurred that would affect not only my spicy peach soup but also my peach preserves, cobblers, crumbles, and pies. Simply put, it’s a gustatory marriage made in heaven, and now that Florida mangoes are readily available in virtually all markets, I hope to see this combination exploited more in both Southern homes and restaurants. Just be sure that the peaches are ripe, and remember that if you’re forced to buy hard mangoes, it takes a couple of days for them to ripen properly.

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Ingredients

  • cups sliced fresh ripe, peeled peaches
  • cups sliced fresh ripe, peeled mangoes
  • cups water
  • cups dry white wine
  • 3 thin slices fresh peeled ginger
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • tablespoons cornstarch mixed in tablespoons cold water
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Method

In a large saucepan, combine the peaches, mangoes, water, wine, and ginger, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Add the sugar, bourbon, and cornstarch, bring to a low boil, and stir till thickened.

Transfer the mixture in batches to a blender or food processor, add the lemon zest and sour cream, and blend till smooth. Let the soup cool, then chill, covered, for at least 4 hours. Serve in chilled glass soup bowls and garnish the top of each serving with a mint leaf.

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