Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricanes = Soup

I have been in complete and total denial regarding a certain little meteorologic (is that a word?) sneeze, called Hurricane Sandy.  You have to understand that I have lived in the Philadelphia area my entire life and can count on one hand the instances of REALLY TRULY HORRIBLE WEATHER that we have had.  That does not stop our local newscasters from fear and panic mongering every single time there is something of an event (rain or snow related), on the weather horizon.  This breeds intense apathy, at least for me, so all of the forewarning that has been spewing into everyone's televisions/email/twitter accounts/etc. has completely fallen on deaf ears.  Until yesterday.  When I actually looked on and saw the really big giant ball of crap...headed right for us.  Since I get a D+ for storm preparedness, I decided to make the best of the situation and make soup while I still have electricity.

Enter one Vera Bradley cookbook; a TJ Maxx find that I planned to give as a Christmas gift many years ago, but couldn't bring myself to part with.  I have tried many recipes in this book and they are all incredible.  So, French Mushroom Soup--here we go.

For our mis en place, you will need to gather the following:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 lbs mushrooms (I like crimini--I just buy two pre-wrapped packs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 potato peeled and diced
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 4 cups chicken stock (I like Wegman's Organic that comes in a box)
The following ingredients you will need after the puree phase:
  • 1 package Boursin cheese (yeah, you guessed it--this is the magic ingredient)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chervil (I can never find this, so just use Italian parsley)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and salt and cook about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes.  Add the potato, celery and chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender. 
Return pureed soup to the saucepan and crumble in the cheese.  (I like my Le Creuset for this since you have to do this in more than two or three batches AND the cast iron keeps the soup warmer for when LAM wants seconds.)  Whisk until cheese is thoroughly melted.  Stir in the lemon juice, chervil (parsley), salt and pepper.  This can be served immediately OR placed into containers and stored in the refrigerator and re-heated.

To go with this, I do a simple salad (spring mix, pear, crumbled gorgonzola, candied walnuts) with balsamic vinaigrette.  The vinaigrette includes the following:
  •  1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Slightly less than a 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey

And voila--instant comfort food.

Stay safe and dry everyone!

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