East Meets West: Autumn Rainbow Soup and Creme Fraiche

Good morning everyone,Mmm-mmmmm.  When I woke up this morning, I was flipping through The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins for the next post in our little vaishno fusion project and I came across rainbow soups.  These are two soups that are combined to form a pattern together in the bowl.  There are several in the cookbook, beginning at page 85.  But by now you know what we’re going to do with them, don’t you?

That’s right, first we’re going to ensure they are vaishno soups (vegetarian and dairy but no egg) and then we may or may not kick them up a notch by making them fusion.  The other challenge is to use ingredients that we are able to obtain here in Western/Northern Canada.

The first rainbow soup that we’re going to take on is the Golden Rainbow Soup, a mixture of two soups – Golden Pepper and Tomato Soup and Sorrel Tarragon Soup, both chilled before being added to the same bowl.  (I so wish they added pictures to this cookbook).

First, start by making both soup recipes and then we’ll talk about combining them in a bowl.  Just beautiful and what a genius idea!  The great thing about these rainbow soup recipes is that you can make and enjoy the individual soups on their own or in the fun rainbow style.

Soups aren’t something that we make a lot around our house I thought this would prove a lot of fun and a definitely a break from the everyday.  I ran into some challenges however.  First, sorrel is not available generally where I live.  I know what it tastes like (it has a lemony, slightly bitter flavour) so thinking up alternatives was a challenge.  Yellow cherry tomatoes, pear tomatoes are likewise not available around here nor are there any easy substitutes available.  Then there were challenges relating to fusing Indian flavours into cold soup – when cold soups just aren’t a thing in Panjabi cuisine.

You’ll need some creme fraiche for a garnish.  The recipe follows:

Creme Fraiche

1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream

Beat the ingredients together in a mixer or with a hand-held mixer.  Pour into a container, cover and let stand in a warm place for 12 hours.  (I know, I know, but it can handle it apparently).  Stir it up and you can store this in the refrigerator for about 24 hours.

Soup 1:  Spiced Pepper and Plum Tomato Soup 


4 orange or yellow bell peppers, cored and seeded
2 1/2 lbs plum tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 thumb fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground anise
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream


Cut the peppers lengthwise into thin strips.  Cut the tomatoes in quarters.  In a medium-sized saucepan over low heat, combine the peppers, tomatoes, lemon juice, ginger, anise, pepper, sugar and cayenne.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes.  Transfer the soup in batches suitable to your food processor and purée.

Pour the purée through a fine sieve into another bowl, to remove any seeds or tough pulp.  Add the cream and stir well.  Refrigerate, covered, until chilled, at least 4 hours.

Soup 2:   Spinach and Tarragon Soup


1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 large red onions, halved and thinly sliced
5 large cloves garlic, crushed
14 oz fresh spinach leaves, rinsed and trimmed (12 cups tightly packed)
4 cups of Light Vegetable Broth (recipe in a previous post)
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 6 pieces
1 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
2 tbls fresh lemon juice
2 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp ground mace
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne pepper


In a heavy medium-size soup pot, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the onions and garlic, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the spinach, stir well and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 50 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor in batches and puree until smooth.  Transfer to a container to allow it to cool, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Autumn Rainbow Soup

5 cups of soup 1
7 cups of soup 2
2/3 cup creme fraiche
8 chives or other garnish of your choice

To make the rainbow soup, pour Soup 1 into a clean, dry measuring cup.  Pour Soup 2 into a second clean, dry measuring cup.  Pour the chilled soups simultaneously into individual soup bowls, allows about 3/4 cup spinach soup and 1/2 cup pepper soup per serving.  The colours should not combine.  Place a dollop of creme fraiche in the centre of each bowl and garnish with chives.

Experiment away as always and let me know how it goes!  Post pics of your creations!

Until next time,
Peace & love,



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