Sunday, August 3, 2008

Potage Crecy (sort of), Two Ways

One of my comfort foods is my mom's carrot soup, aka Potage Crecy. There is nothing like it on a cold night: rich, velvety, and thick, with some chewy multi-grain bread. (Which is why I'm DYING for Volume 2 of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which will deal with whole-grain breads.) The chilled variation at the bottom makes a fantastic summer dish.

The traditional recipe is made with carrots and potatoes (think Vichyssoise, but hot and with carrots instead of leeks). My version uses cauliflower instead of potatoes, which makes the mixture sweeter, and lighter in texture. This recipe has a nice balance of the carrot and cauli flavors, but some people prefer a stronger carroty flavor. Feel free to play with the proportion of carrots to cauliflower until you find the ratio you like best.

Resist the urge to add cream - it doesn't make it any better, and even dilutes the flavors. (Believe me - I tried it!)





Potage Jessy
(Jessy is the nickname my family used when I was little, including most of the times I ate this soup)

Serves 4 as a meal or 6-8 as an appetizer

1/2 lb carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds
1/2 lb cauliflower floretts & stem pieces (frozen or fresh)
2 cups of chicken stock
2 Tbsp butter (optional, but highly recommended)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional) or the fresh herb of your choice (dill is nice too)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Special equipment:
- blender, immersion/stick blender, or food mill


Instructions:

- put the carrots, cauliflower, and chicken stock in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil

- lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender but not falling apart (10-15 minutes)

- pour half the cooking liquid into another container and reserve.

- puree the vegetables and remaining cooking liquid until very smooth

- continue to add the remaining cooking liquid 1/4 cup at a time, pureeing, until you reach the desired consistency.

- add butter and puree until completely incorporated

- ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley

- add fresh-ground pepper and salt to taste
NOTE: salt is usually not needed unless you used sodium-free stock!

This is great with a nutty whole-grain bread and a crisp white wine. A grassy french-style sauvignon blanc would pick up on the herb garnish, while the rounder body of a nice chardonnay (I prefer the unoaked ones) would complement the smooth richness of the soup.


VARIATION:

For a nice summer dish, serve chilled. You can also omit the parsley and substitute a heaping tablespoon of full-fat yogurt (regular or strained), placed in the middle of the dish. For a real treat, use home-made yogurt. (It's not that hard, really!) A nice sauvignon blanc would really pick up the zing of the yogurt.

1 comment:

jhertz10 said...

Hey Jess: This looks like great soup! About the new book: We're writing as fast as we can! I'm Jeff Hertzberg, one of the co-authors. Should be out by Christmas 2009, or early 2010. This business moves a little slower than I thought before I got into it.

Try the existing whole-grain breads in our book, and consider adding some vital wheat gluten if you kick up the whole grains beyond what we specified.

You probably already know this, but you can visit us at our website/blog (www.artisanbreadinfive.com), and post questions into any “Comments” field, or by clicking on “Bread Questions” on the left side of the home page and choosing an option from there. We answer pretty quickly.

Jeff