We’re Cooking: White Grape Gazpacho

We had some friends over for Gary’s surprise birthday party earlier this week and I had Spain on the mind so decided to create White Gazpacho and Paella, with my own twists.  I have only had a few versions of White Gazpacho in the past, and always thought they were heavier than I had hoped for in a cold soup.  This one was light, refreshing, delicious and relatively easy as long as you have a good blender. 

Recipe:

White Gazpacho Soup with Herbs
Ingredients:
6 cups chicken stock or veggie stock
5 pieces day old bread, crusts removed and cut into chunks
1 cup blanched, slivered almonds
2 cucumbers, skinned, seeded and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups white grapes + more for garnish, cut in half
1/2 cup low fat milk or fat free half and half
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
2-3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar (I like a lot of acid, so use as much or as little for your taste)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup mixed herbs – we used parsley, mint, chives and basil + additional herbs for garnish
2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preparation:
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer over medium heat in a stock pot.  When warm add the bread and allow to sit for about 5 minutes as the bread soaks up the stock.  We had day old rosemary bread on hand, which added an additional herbal note.  Working in batches, add half of the grapes, cucumber, almonds, milk, yogurt, vinegar, garlic, herbs and soaked bread with any remaining stock.  Blend well to incorporate all ingredients and create a smooth texture without chunks of any one ingredient, you want a smooth soup. Pour each batch into a large, non-reactive bowl that can be refrigerated. When blending the last batch of soup slowly strain in the olive oil through the top of the blender to help emulsify the soup.  Whisk in to the other batches.  Season with salt and pepper to your taste.  The stock is usually salty so adding the seasoning at the end will make sure the soup is perfectly seasoned without over salting.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours to chill, or place in a freezer for 1.  The soup should be very cold.   Pour into soup bowls and garnish with grapes, herbs and almond slivers (if desired.)

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