I am into soups right now, blame the weather, but it doesn’t bother me because I love soups. Hearts of Palm & Avocado is a delicious salad combination. My mouth waters when I think about it, and it always makes me think of roasted chicken or grilled steaks, it is a popular side dish in many restaurants in Venezuela. I can even hear the background folk music (musica llanera) playing when I think about it. But truthfully I look outside and remember that it is few degrees below zero here in Wisconsin and I am in desperate need of something to warm me up, so that’s how the flavors of my favorite salad becomes a soup.
Hearts of Palm are considered a vegetable, very common in South & Central America and possibly treated more like a delicacy in places where palms are not harvested. As its name indicates it is the heart of a palm tree, basically the inner core. Sold in jars or cans, I personally prefer the jar but it could be pricier. It has a velvety and tender texture with a very delicate flavor, almost like an artichoke but smoother. That is why it goes so well in salads; I never thought it would be so deliciously creamy and delightful in a soup, but it is! Adding avocado at the end gives it a rich and buttery flavor, yum!
If you are ready to try something new, try this creamy and delicious Hearts of Palm & Avocado soup. Let’s get cooking!
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Medium onion, chopped
1 Medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 Cups vegetable stock
3 Small potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 – 14 oz. Cans hearts of palm, drained (reserve 1 cup of liquid) & sliced
1/2 Cup heavy cream
1 Haas avocado, peeled, seeded and cubed.
Salt & ground black pepper to taste
Smoked paprika & fennel tops for garnishing (optional)
In a medium heavy bottom pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel, season with a pinch of salt, stir well to get everything coated with butter. Cook for 5 minutes, until soften and translucent. Sprinkle over the flour, cook stirring for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and reserved liquid from the cans, add the potatoes. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the hearts of palm and the cream and simmer gently for another 8 minutes.
Transfer to a blender or food processor and run on medium speed until smooth. Add the avocado and process again until well incorporated. Return the soup to the pan and heat gently, adding a little water if necessary, the consistency should be thick and creamy but not too heavy. Season with salt and ground pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fennel tops and paprika. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
This recipe was adapted from The Caribbean Cookbook.