10 Pejibayes (cooked, peeled, pitted and chopped)
4 Cups of Chicken Broth
2 Cups whole milk or cream
1/4 Cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Pejibaye’s are the fruit of the same massive palm trees that provide Costa Rican’s with another delicious staple: palmito, or heart of palm. While visiting Costa Rica, you’ll see the fruits for sale everywhere from street vendors, local ferias, and grocery stores where they’ll appear in their humblest form (salted and boiled with a hearty topping of mayonnaise) to listed on fine dining menus presented as cream of Pejibaye. Their waxy skin can only be removed after a certain amount of cooking, and their color ranges from yellow-green to deep red and vibrant orange. The deep orange flesh is starchy and slightly dry, with sweet undertones similar to sweet potato, or chestnut.
While pejibayes peeled, pitted and sliced make a great hors-d’oeuvres (especially when served with a mayonnaise, lime, pepper and cilantro dipping sauce!), this Pejibaye Cream Soup Recipe is a favorite for it’s low cost, rich flavor, and quick prep.
The next time you visit your local feria or see a cart of steaming palm fruits, pick up a bag and try the soup out for yourself. It’s delicious as-is, or can be used as a base to play around with, adding a bay leaf, rosemary and thyme for deeper flavor or even coconut milk and a few dashes of curry for some international flair. Natilla (Costa Rican sour cream) with cilantro and toasted chickpeas make great garnishes as well.
This recipe for Pejibaye Cream Soup makes a healthy batch of soup – enough for 5 hearty bowls. We like to make the full thing, enjoying left-overs with a big bowl of salad and crispy bread. ¡Provecho!
1. In a medium to large pot, melt the butter and sauté the celery, red pepper, garlic and onions until they begin to caramelize
2. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
3. Add chopped pejibayes, turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until pejibayes are tender.
4. Using an immersion blender, blend the contents of the pot until smooth
5. Simmer if you prefer it thicker, or thin it out with milk. Add salt and pepper to taste
6. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve hot with a big hunk of bread!