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Pear Almond Soup

1/4 c Cooking oil
1/2 c Minced onion
1/2 c Minced celery
4 Pears; peel/seed/core
1/2 c Blanched almonds
1/2 c Pear brandy or sherry
4 c Vegetable stock
1 ts Fresh thyme
1 tb Fresh sage
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a wide pot and add onion and celery. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown. Add pears and almonds and cook together lightly, about 3 minutes. Add brandy or sherry and cook about 3 minutes to allow alcohol to evaporate. Add stock, herbs, salt and pepper. Cook 40 minutes on medium heat. Set aside to cool. Transfer mixture to blender or food processor and blend well. Strain mixture back into saucepan and reheat, tasting and seasoning as necessary. Serve hot.

Serves 6.

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