Friday, February 1, 2013

The secret is in the soup...

Whenever it's cold, or I have a cold, I crave chicken soup.

Sarge's is my favorite deli.
It's a rather worn place
on Third Avenue at 36th.
But in my opinion,
they serve the best
chicken soup with kreplach
in the city. Plus pastrami,
rugelach, and egg creams.
Heaven on rye!

Whenever I entertain, 
soup is always on the menu.

You see...
I have a passion for potage.

Adore making it.
Love serving it.
Enjoy sipping it.

But frankly I'm also not sure
that my creamy compulsion
isn't synergistic with my
other secret passions...

Maybe it's because I love tureens?

I just can't get
enough of them.
Ethel had a lovely
Meissen tureen in
blue and white.
Hmm... I wonder
where that went...

Maybe I'm 
"in my cups" 
a bit too often?

Years ago we had a guest who grabbed those two handles and proceeded to sip their soup. You should have seen Mother's face! Not only elegant, these two handled wonders hold the perfect portion.

Maybe I just enjoy giving my guests the finger?

Finger bowls are also the perfect size. I often use these archaic gems to serve vichyssoise. What I find most delicious is that burst of color on the table.

Maybe I need a good rimming?

There's nothing more fabulous than a beautiful rimmed soup bowl. Not only is it the classic, it was designed to avert any splashes that might hit your table cloth.

Whatever the reason, 
I'll continue to ladle out these delicious concoctions.
My guests love them, and they're very easy to make.
At my friend "A's" request, here is my recipe for her favorite soup.

Veloute' aux Champignons

1 pound of mushrooms (brushed, trimmed, and quartered)
1 yellow onion (chopped)
1/4 pound unsalted butter (preferably French)
1/4 cup good cognac
4 cups beef stock (reserve any left for below)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Touch of heavy cream (you decide how much)

Melt butter in sauce pan.
Add onion and mushrooms.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes until onions are transparent.

Turn up the heat to medium.
Add cognac, cook until about half evaporates.

Add beef stock.
Cook covered on a low simmer for 30 minutes.

Let it cool with lid off.
Puree in batches in food processor.

Add a touch of heavy cream but not too much!
It's your decision but don't mask the flavor of the mushrooms.
Consistency should not be heavy (think Campbell's Cream of Tomato).
If it's too thick, add more beef stock, but not more cream!

Let soup chill in the refrigerator over night.
The flavors will mature and blend. It's worth the wait!

Before serving, reheat, then adjust seasoning.