Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cream of Asparagus Soup


















I first tried this amazing soup at Paris’ famed restaurant La Tour D’Argent, and have loved it ever since.  Theirs was the most wonderful version I’ve tasted to date, so creamy and full of flavor.  Alas, the serving, as is the custom in such French restaurants that serve many many courses, was quite small, only a few sips really, then it was off to the next course. 



I’ve examined quite a few recipes over the years trying to replicate the taste of La Tour D’Argent’s version, but I’ve never quite pulled it off.  This version below is the closest I’ve managed to come.  It’s quite tasty. 

Cream of Asparagus Soup

2 Pounds Green Asparagus, Chopped, Tips Reserved. 
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
3 Tablespoons Butter
10 Cups Chicken Broth
2 Teaspoons Fresh Thyme
2 Teaspoons Dried Herbs De Provence
1 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic
Salt and White Pepper to taste
1 ½ Cups Heavy Cream
¼ Teaspoon Lemon Juice

Chop the onion 



and sauté in the butter until the onion is translucent but not brown.  While onions are cooking, chop the asparagus into inch long pieces, 



discarding the thick woody end pieces and reserving about half the tips for garnish.  When the onions are starting to clear, add the asparagus pieces and cook another five minutes. 



While the asparagus pieces are sautéing, add the Thyme, Herbs de Provence, and Garlic.  



After this has sautéd a minute or two, add the chicken broth.  



Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or so, until the asparagus is tender.  Add salt and white pepper to taste at this point.  While soup is cooking, boil the reserved asparagus tips until they are soft and tender.  



Set aside. 

Next, use a stick blender if you have it to puree the soup, otherwise do it in batches in your blender.  



Add the heavy cream at this point and stir to combine.  



Add the lemon juice, taste and make any final adjustments.  Serve immediately, with a few of the reserved asparagus tips dropped in for garnish. 



Until Next Time, 

Bon Appetit!

Chris




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Vichyssoise















I’ve decided August is soup month here on An Eatin’ Man, so I’m going to feature a couple of summer-wonderful soups for your cooking pleasure.  To start things off, here’s one of my favorite summer time soups, Vichyssoise. 

This French-sounding soup is in fact an American invention, first appearing on the menu of the Ritz-Carlton in the early Twentieth Century.  But it was inspired by the potato and leek soups that Chef Louis Diat enjoyed as a child in France, so there is some connection.  The addition of cream helps chill the soup after it is cooked, creating a refreshing cold soup for summer consumption. 



Vichyssoise

4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Cups Chopped/Diced Leeks, White and Pale Green Parts Only
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
2 Lbs Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes, Peeled and Chopped
8-10 Cups Chicken Stock
2 Teaspoons Salt (or to taste)
2 Teaspoons Fine-Ground White Pepper
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Cup Sour Cream
Chopped Fresh Chives for Garnish

Wash your leeks thoroughly, then slice off and discard the end piece with the small roots.  Then slice and chop the white and pale green portions of the leeks (or leek, if you find one as big as I have here).  



Chop the onion as well.  Melt butter in a large pot and sauté the onion and leeks until they begin to turn translucent but do not brown them. 


Meanwhile, peel and chop your potatoes. 


Add the chicken stock 



and then the chopped potatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and the leeks/onions are tender.  At this point, puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor, or, if you have one, use one of these nifty stick blenders to puree the soup right in the pot. 



Once pureed, add salt and pepper and taste.  Adjust as necessary.  Next, stir in the heavy cream and sour cream.  



Taste and make any final adjustments as necessary. 

Now, at this point, you have a decision to make.  This soup is traditionally served cold, so you will need to chill it in the fridge or a water bath until it is cold and refreshing.  Or, you can be a freak like me and serve it hot, which is also quite delicious.  I usually serve it hot right after I’ve cooked it, then cold as a leftover the next night or two.  Best of both worlds, right?



Until next time,

Soup’s on!


Chris