Polish Apricot Soup
(Zupa ze Moreli)
Thick, with a jewel-like transparency, and filling, this soup is an extraordinary start to grilled chicken or pork chops--and not bad as a finish to a fine meal, served with coffee and cookies. Although buttered croutons are traditional as a garnish, whipped sour cream is too--and it looks marvelous swirled into the gleaming apricot. Serve hot or cold as a first or last course to 4 people.
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, then stir in the apricots (no need to peel them) and their pits (it's easiest to tie these up in a little cheesecloth or put them in a teaball, but they're easy enough to dig out of the pot if necessary. You don't want to lose their subtle almond taste by omitting them). Cook, partially covered, for 20-30 minutes. Remove the pits and puree the soup, solids first, then return to the saucepan. Stir in the sugar, lemon, and lemon zest, and return to a boil. Mix the potato starch with equal parts of water, then stir into the soup. Cook on low for several minutes, until the soup is clear and thick and has lost its raw starch taste.
For cold soup, let cool, then cover and refrigerate. To serve, ladle into bowls and either top with croutons or swirl in 2 Tablespoons of sour cream to make an attractive abstract pattern.
For hot soup, ladle into bowls garnish with croutons or sour cream (above), and serve immediately.