Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Soupe Aux Choux - Garbure (Main-Course Cabbage Soup)



I'm not really sure why this soup is called cabbage soup when it's really more of a combination vegetable soup. I'm not sure the ratio of cabbage to other vegetables is high enough to warrant the name.  Maybe I should contact the French government about this issue.

This soup can basically be a meal unto itself. The full recipe nearly filled up my Le Creuset pot, so it got halved. And it still fed three people with plenty of leftovers. I would definitely remake this soup on a cold day when my nose is red and I just want my electric blanket.

Soupe Aux Choux - Garbure (Main-Course Cabbage Soup)
From Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck

3½ quarts water
3 to 4 cups peeled, quartered boiling potatoes
A 1½ pound chunk of lean salt pork, lean bacon, or smoked, unprocessed ham
2 pounds or 3 quarts of roughly sliced cabbage
8 crushed peppercorns or a big pinch of ground chili peppers
Salt as necessary, added near the end
6 parsley sprigs tied with 1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon marjoram
½ teaspoon thyme
4 cloves mashed garlic
2 medium onions studded with 2 cloves
2 peeled, quartered carrots
Rounds of hard-toasted French bread
Optional additions:
2 to 4 peeled, quartered turnips
2 to 3 sliced celery stalks
1 to 2 cups fresh white beans, or half-cooked navy beans, or add canned white or red beans to soup 10 to 15 minutes before end of simmering

Place water, potatoes, and meat in a large pot and bring it to the boil.  Add the cabbage and all the other ingredients.  Simmer partially covered for 1½ to 2 hours or until the meat is tender.  Discard parsley bundle.  Remove the meat, slice it into serving pieces, and return it to the pot.  Correct seasoning.  Skim off accumulated fat.  Serve, accompanied by the bread.

Makes 8 servings

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Potage Crème d’Epinards (Cream of Spinach Soup)




The cream in these soups is already starting to expand my waistline, so I think this will be the last creamy soup for a while. Not that they aren't fabulous and delicious, but I'm a bit worried about what the French call a "liver complaint". Also known as too much rich living. Everything in moderation, right? The soup was warm and creamy, and it tasted like sautéed spinach, which is always delicious. Perfect for a cold day.

Potage Crème d’Epinards (Cream of Spinach Soup)
From Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck

⅓ cup minced green onions, or yellow onions
3 tablespoons butter
3 to 4 packed cups of fresh spinach, washed and dried in a towel, cut into chiffonade
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flour
5½ cups boiling white stock or canned chicken broth
2 egg yolks
½ cup whipping cream
1 to 2 tablespoons softened butter

Cook the onions slowly in the butter in a covered saucepan for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender and translucent but not browned.  Stir in the spinach and salt, cover, and cook slowly for about 5 minutes or until the leaves are tender and wilted. Sprinkle in the flour and stir over moderate heat for 3 minutes.  Off heat, beat in the boiling stock. Simmer for 5 minutes.  Correct seasoning.

Blend the yolks and cream in a mixing bowl. Beat a cupful of hot soup into them by driblets. Gradually beat in the rest of the soup in a thin stream. Return soup to saucepan and stir over moderate heat for a minute or two to poach the egg yolks, but do not bring the soup to a simmer. Off heat, stir in the enrichment butter a tablespoon at a time.

Makes 6 servings