In one of Prudhomme's clam chowder recipes, he cooks down potato into the broth, scraping up the toasting potato from the bottom of the pot repeatedly. I have since incorporated that into my potato soup. I saute onion garlic and dried herbs in some combination of butter, bacon fat and olive oil. Heavy on the bacon fat today, I only had a bit of butter left.
Then add grated potato and enough chicken stock to cover. Let the potato break down and scrape the bottom of the pot thoroughly to prevent burned potato. it will start to stick to your scraper at some point. Scrape every few minutes.
After twenty or thirty minutes of that, puree.
Now add dairy and chopped potatoes to your desired density. Today was half and half but it's still quite good even with skim milk. Simmer gently until your potato chunks are tender. Keep scraping up the potato from the bottom of the pot. Watch the heat so you don't curdle the dairy.
I made a menu for today around what was in the icebox - flanksteak taco with brussels sprouts and a savory stuffed, baked apple.
The steak I dry rubbed and marinated overnight. Brussels sprouts while tedious go fast when the music is. The stuffing - ah yes the stuffing. I bought two nice Honey Crisp apples today. Shoppers must have though me a little off as I held them flat for best product rejecting half dozen before settling on the two best, most symmetric ones. I made some lardon then added diced onion, celery dried cherries and herbs to the pan. When soft I added some diced dry ciabatta then covered and let steam off the heat.
While it was cooling I deglazed the pan with some apple sauce seasoned with nutmeg and cinnamon then added it to the mixture to thickened it to a proper consistency for stuffing. I cut the tops off my apples, scooped out the centers and added the filling. (Channeling @BillyMays) - "but wait - there's more". before putting them in the oven I stuffed the tops with slices of Stilton cheese and topped with a sprinkle of brown sugar.
The steak got sous vide @ 136 for 1.3 hrs. then seared in a super hot skillet, sprouts got steamed then sauteed in bacon drippings and finished with a splash of balsamic vinegar. After resting, the steak got sliced very thin, the corn tortillas got toasted in pans and voila "Dinner is served". And while everything was delicious the apple really stood out - sweet, savory, the stilton cut through everything and all was right with the world.
Oh and somewhere in between I managed to make some fresh salsa - Ole.
Everything except the cheese is made from scratch. The onions I grew in my greenhouse.
For the soup, I made beef and veal stock. Anyone who wants that specific recipe, let me know and I will send it.
The recipe itself is simple. I sliced and caramelized 6 onions, 2 red, 2 white and 2 yellow. I like the depth of flavor that each variety of onion brings. I strained the stock and added the caramelized onions in a pot over medium high heat. I deglazed the onion pan with cognac and added it to the stock. Bring to a vigorous simmer and reduce heat to medium low. Add Balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar and Worcestershire and let the liquid reduce by about a third or more, depending on how intense you want the flavor. Skim any froth that forms. When the stock has reduced to desired level, taste for salt and add accordingly. Its important not to add salt until the soup is done reducing. Otherwise, its very easy to misjudge and over salt the soup.
Here's the secret. When I made demi glace for the holidays, I froze it in ice trays and stored the demi glace cubes in freezer bags. They are little nuggets of culinary gold. I added 3 of these cubes to the soup and it turned out extraordinary!
For the bread, I simply made a French baguette and toasted the slices in a pan with butter and garlic. I added the bread to the bowl, topped with grated Swiss and Gruyere. Placed under the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes or until the cheese was melted and golden.
Cheddar Ale Soup.
Carrots, celery, onions, orange bell peppers, and garlic sauteed in butter till clear, add flour to make a roux. After a few minutes cooking I added 2 cups of chicken stock and a cup of half and half, letting that simmer till the veggies were soft. Turning down the heat I added 2 cups of shredded 5 yr old Cabot Cheddar cheese. After a few twists of fresh ground pepper I added 1 cup of the brown ale.
This is one of my favorite quick go-to soups in the winter when I always have some kind of beer and some kind of sharp cheddar cheese in my fridge. Adding the cheese and beer very last, and not overheating are the key to not curdling the soup.
Closing in on the halfway mark, and already some seriously tasty dishes being presented. This could be a tough one.
I'm thinking maybe I should have explicitly added fruit to the title, or gone totally across the board and said Plants and Cheese. You know, something along the lines of dates stuffed with candied walnuts and smoked Stilton. Or something like this steak that I paired with grilled peaches that were topped with blue cheese and a drizzle of balsamic.
So go ahead, feel free to stretch the definition of 'vegetable' in whatever direction you'd like, and get an entry in!
Pizza, or torte flambe. Actually somewhere in between...
The cheeses: cream cheese, cheddar and very mature maaslander
Leek and mixed into the cream cheese
Added some olive pesto and a bit of sambal for heat and just a drop of fish sauce
And then forgot to take any other pictures.
But, one of my friends couldn't make it and demanded pizza the next day. So I made a new batch of dough, but I used the left over cream cheese mixture to which I had added the left over grated cheeses.
Set up the little oven again
The topping mixture (it was a bit stiff, so added some liquid in the form of yoghurt )
Took the dough out of the fridge and made dough balls and let them rise
Unfortunately, they were a bit overproofed (as my friend turned up later than expected) and didn't puff up as nicely in the oven as the night before.
Lesson learned. Only take out the dough when the people are there. Just keep them quiet with a drink while the dough does its own thing....
And almost forgot to make a picture of the final product again:
I wanted chicken pot pie, but without the carb load of pie crust. I've never heard of "chicken cottage pot pie", but thought what the hey - the usual suspects - carrot, celery and onion+garlic, thyme, a little rosemary and parsley. I made the sauce/gravy/whatever with Tom Yum broth, the goo and fond from the chicken roasting pan, chicken, corn starch/broth and a little heavy cream to smooth things out. I had small gold potatoes leftover from yesterday so Instead of making mash I sliced those and layered them before adding a slice of havarti and some grated smoked gruyere then into the oven and crank near the end and we were quite satisfied with the results.
This challenge made me decide to make some marscapone.
The recipe was mashed potato innards, mix with marscapone, and shredded Cabot Alpine Cheese, salt and pepper.
The result was a very good. Light, creamy and delicious.