I'd like to start with a disclaimer: This post is entirely for the lulz. It is silly, overstated, and occasionally florid, and I do not recommend continuing unless you're comfortable with the idea that this may be an entertaining, but ultimately pointless diversion.
Now, let me tell you a story...
Once upon a time, my eleven-year-old brother put some frozen fruit, dry oats and milk in a pot. He brought it to a boil and called the concoction "fruit soup." With no prior training, he set out to do something unheard of, unrestricted by the conventions and doctrines of mainstream culinary practice. Was it ridiculous, or was it genius... or perhaps both? Well, the soup itself was... tolerable - distinctly okay - definitely not a masterpiece, BUT the dream lived on!
For a long time this dream languished in obscurity, until, finally, about two weeks ago I thought, "Hey, remember that time Tim made fruit soup? That was weird. I wonder if anyone else has tried to make fruit soup!" Sure enough, the internet was replete with a variety of fruit soup recipes. Well, I say variety, but the truth is that most of them were iterations of the same basic concept: a chilled, sweet and syrupy, dessert-y kind of dish to be served at baby showers and garden parties. Cowards, I thought to myself. Of course, a chilled fruit soup may be a delight on a fine spring morning. It's easily done and a is safe choice when trying to please guests, but I decided then and there that I wasn't going to play it safe. I wanted a fruit soup recipe that defied conventional boundaries and was served hot. The search continued.
The few recipes I found that served it hot contained abominations like red lentils, onion and garlic, which are distinctly NOT FRUIT! So, I said to myself, "You will not be like these heretics. You will take the high road and use only fruit when making your fruit soup.
AND, it will be served hot. AND it will have no added sugar. AND it will be made to parallel vegetable soup; it will be hearty and nutritious and filling.
AAANNNDD, it will convert the non-believers by being UNDENIABLY DELICIOUS!"
Thus was the journey begun. I was going for a dish that one might serve as a soup course or appetizer. It wasn't my goal for it to be sweet, but it didn't have to be NOT sweet. The concept was to pick ingredients that would mimic the components of a vegetable soup. For tomato broth, I substituted a papaya-orange-prune base. For potatoes, I substituted green plantain. For a meaty texture, I added young jackfruit. The rest was just adding chunks of fruit that would complement the dish. In my efforts to make it 100% fruit, I even used coconut oil instead of other options.
First, I made the broth! I cut up my papaya into large chunks, and immediately noticed a very interesting smell. It's quite hard to describe, but it was... funky. I was a little worried at this point. I did a quick google search and apparently A LOT of people think papaya tastes and smells disgusting! Descriptions ranged from rotten salmon to dirty feet. This fruit was supposed to be the foundation of my soup! I thought, How would anyone eat it if it smelled like spoiled fish?!
I had come too far to turn back now, so I pressed on.
In order to combat that pungent, offensive taste, traditionally, lime juice is squeezed over the fruit. This doesn't cover the taste, but eliminates it entirely! A bit of research on the subject did not give me a clear answer as to why lime juice gets rid of the smell. I did find out that the weird smell is caused by an enzyme called papain. This enzyme is really good at breaking down hard-to-digest proteins in meat, so it's often served with meat as a digestive aid. I hypothesized that there's some sort of chemical interaction between lime juice and papaya that destroys the infamous enzyme, but a study done back in the 40's suggested that lime has a coenzyme that ACCELERATES the enzyme, rather than destroying it. That's good news, because it means that papaya can still improve your digestion, WITHOUT the rancid smell. So, if you feel bloated when you eat meat, have a little papaya, pineapple (has bromelain, which also breaks down proteins) and lime juice fruit salad and you could see a big improvement in your digestion! In the end, a little citrus really did the trick, and the soup base ended up tasting great.
After placing the papaya in a pot of water to start simmering my broth, I decided to add some chopped prunes to add a rich earthy quality to the soup. I also thought a little bit of zesty citrus rind flavor would add some nice complexity. A hint of bitterness, like one might get from celery, was what I was going for. After juicing some oranges and limes, I put the rinds in the pot. I knew from experience that the broth would get REALLY bitter if I left them in for a long time, so I only let them simmer for a few minutes.
Once the citrus rinds were removed, I let the broth simmer for over an hour before turning off the heat. It tasted great but with its orange hue and little bits of papaya and prune floating around, it looked a little like barf. I could have strained it to get a nice clear broth, but I was concerned there would be almost no soup left after removing the volume of the whole papaya. Instead I used my immersion blender to make a thick, blended soup base. I then added the juice from the two oranges, (about 2/3 cup) and stirred it in. I seasoned with a little salt, some cinnamon, and ground cloves (the only non-fruit ingredients) and tasted it. I was a little surprised to discover that I really liked it!
My roommates all tried a small sample, and said it reminded them of applesauce.
So far, so good!
I saved the base and finished the soup on a different day, which is why the official recipe will be a little different than what I describe here.
I added some dried apricots to the pot while it was reheating because I wanted those to re-hydrate a little. Some canned pears chopped into cubes also complemented the broth splendidly.
NEXT I prepared the "meat and potatoes" of the dish. I peeled the green plantain and diced it in about half-inch chunks. If you want to try this, but are unfamiliar with the fruit, a good tip for peeling plantains is to cut off the ends, so you can see the flesh, then cut through the peel down the length of the plantain. Push your thumb under the peel from the top then slide it underneath down the side. It should separate cleanly, but a fair amount of force is required. I simply shallow-fried these chunks for several minutes. Once they had a nice golden, crispy exterior, I added them directly to the soup. These ended up being firm, starchy, and savory.
Now, I tend to like plantains this way, but they were the only thing in the soup that wasn't sweet at all and it was a little jarring. I think next time I'd use some that are slightly ripe, maybe in the green-turning-yellow phase, so that they're still firm, but a little sweet. If you're hard pressed to get plantains that are just right, you could definitely do some greenish bananas the same way.
I used green jackfruit, (also known as young jackfruit) to add a meat-like component, and this normally wouldn't have been sweet either, but I sauteed it with just a little coconut oil and my canned pineapple chunks, which imbued it with a light flavor and sweetness. Both the jackfruit and the pineapple became lightly caramelized and were pretty freaking delicious.
I added the mixture to the pot.
That was it! My hot fruit soup was complete! For my final act, I cut some honeycrisp apples into thin straws, tossed them in lime juice (so they wouldn't get brown and gross) and placed them atop my soup. I tried it and thought it was pretty darn good!!! I added some black pepper to mine, and it really set it off! (That idea came from my dad who used to put salt, pepper and tabasco hot sauce on his cantaloupe.) I thought the soup was filling and satisfying as well, but I needed a second opinion. Naturally, I thought the soup was good, I mean, it was my baby! So, in order to truly test the deliciousness of my creation, I served it up to my roommates and... they mostly said it was weird. They didn't hate it, they said it wasn't bad at all, in fact it was pretty good, but it just wasn't something they were used to. Two of my roommates said they weren't really into hot fruit in general. For example, they wouldn't usually be tempted by apple pie. They all said it reminded them of hot cider, or apple sauce. Thus, the fruit soup saga was concluded. I was the only one who ate the leftovers.
I think this recipe would go over better in the autumn since it's somewhat reminiscent of apple pie or pumpkin spice, and it's served warm. If I made this in the fall, I would have added persimmons to the broth, since they kinda remind me of tomatoes in the first place.
Moral of the story? Weird is weird. If you set out to create something new and unusual, be prepared for people to be a little scared and put off at first. However, if you're the kind of person who likes pushing culinary boundaries, or trying foods totally unlike what you've eaten before, or are just generally adventurous, give this a try!
It's legitimately tasty!
Without further ado, here's the recipe. I hope you enjoy it! If you do try it, comment below what you thought of it. Happy eating!
A great way to impress your culinarily adventurous friends, this fruit soup is served hot and steaming like the tropics! The recipe features nutritious and delicious fruits such as papaya, jackfruit, and pineapple, and is best served as an appetizer or soup course before an entrée. The combination of papaya, pineapple and citrus forms a veritable cocktail of digestive enzymes and sits easy on sensitive stomachs.
It only takes a little over an hour, but if you know you’re gonna be tight on time the day of the meal, you can easily prep the broth a day or two before and reheat on the stove over medium-low heat. You’re gonna need: · A Large, Ripe Papaya (peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks) · 4 oz. Chopped Prunes · 1 Lime · 2 Oranges · ½ Cup Dried Apricots (chopped coarsely) Put your chopped papaya and prunes into a pot with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil. While you’re waiting for it to boil, go ahead and juice your lime and your oranges. Keep the juices separate, they’re used for different things. You’re looking to get about 2 Tbsp lime juice, and about 2/3 Cup of orange juice. When your broth is at a rolling boil, place the leftover citrus rinds in the broth and set a timer for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the citrus rinds, and discard. Let your broth simmer for at least another 55 minutes. While that’s simmering, you have an opportunity to go ahead and prep the other components (see below)! When it’s done, turn off the heat. Transfer to a blender, or use an immersion blender (a GREAT investment!) to break down the fruit until the broth is a smooth consistency. Place back on the stove on low heat. Just enough to keep it hot. Add your dried apricot so it can start to rehydrate. If you want to add any other dried fruit, do it now!
These could also be made in advance and stored after frying. · 3 Semi-Ripe Plantains (Peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks) · ¼ Cup Coconut Oil, or as needed Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. We’re going for a shallow fry here, so there should be enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Toss in the plantains. Toss and stir constantly until they start to get a little brown and crispy. . If there’s a lot of oil left in the pan, remove the chunks and place them on a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet. (This was my fiance’s ingenious idea, and is a great alternative to using paper towels to absorb grease!) Add them to your soup after you’ve blended the soup base.
· 20 oz. Can Young Jackfruit (should come in brine) · Pineapple (Fresh cut in chunks, or canned chunks, 20 oz. in juice) · 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil · Dash of salt Drain your jackfruit in a colander, and rinse thoroughly. Structurally, it’ll remind you a bit of artichoke hearts, with a stringy part and a solid part. You can eat all of it except the seeds. In the stringy parts you can feel with your fingers to find the firm pods and remove the seeds from inside them. Break apart the solid pieces with your hands. Put that in a frying pan with the oil and the pineapple over medium-high heat, sprinkle with salt and just let it go for a while. The salt should bring some liquid out of the pineapple, and when it does, stir everything around so the jackfruit can eat up that flavor. We then want to cook that liquid off, so our fruit can caramelize. Once you’ve achieved some consistent browning (each piece seems to have browned a little) you can throw it straight in the soup after you’ve blended the soup base
Finish it up
· 14 oz. Canned Pear Slices (cut into chunks)
· 2/3 Cup Fresh Orange Juice (from the soup base phase)
· ½ tsp Cinnamon
· ¼ tsp ground cloves
· Salt to Taste
· 1 Crisp Apple (Gala, pink lady, honeycrisp etc. grated or diced)
· 2 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice (from the soup base phase)
If you used canned pineapple, add the juice to the soup. Add the pears, orange juice, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Give it a real good stir.
As soon as you cut up your apple, toss it in the lime juice.
Ladel out your soup into bowls and top with your diced apple. I like mine with some cracked black pepper on top. Enjoy!