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    Sunday, May 03, 2009

    Soup, Salad and Sandwich Birthday Lunch

    My friend Catherine had a birthday. An Annual Event Don’t you Know?

    We missed the Actual Day, so this was a belated event.
    It’s autumnal weather, so, a nice soup first and little salad to cleanse the palate, and then Bruschetta.
    What is lunch without a sandwich?

    Catherine made her own birthday cake
    Walnut and Apple. Served warm with custard and whipped cream. Yum

    The Soup
    This is the second time I have made this soup.
    It's wonderful.

    It is from the Ina Garten Collection,
    I followed her recipe the first time,
    but made a couple of changes in the preparation for this lunch.

    Leeks can get over caramelized and bitter, in the roasting process, so I cooked them in a separate pan from the potatoes.

    Roasted Potato and Leek Soup.

    1 kilo Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
    4 cups chopped leeks, (same size) white and light green parts, cleaned of all sand (4 leeks)
    1/4 cup good olive oil
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    3 cups baby arugula, lightly packed
    1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving
    6 to 7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (recipe following)
    3/4 cup heavy cream
    250 gms crème fraiche
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish

    180C Oven
    Into a roasting pan add chunked potatoes,
    Sprinkle over olive oil
    Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast about 30- 40 minutes till tender
    Meanwhile in another plan add chunked leeks
    Sprinkle over more olive oil and season
    Roast about 20-30 minutes

    About 5 minutes before the potatoes are ready add arugula and roast till wilted.

    Put the potato pan on top of stove add the cooked leeks and deglaze with 1/2 cup white wine and 1 cup of chicken stock
    Make sure you scrape up all of the crispy bits.

    Transfer everything to a blender along with the rest of the chicken stock and puree till smooth
    You will need to do this in batches.

    Pour into your soup pot and slowly bring to a simmer.

    Add cream and crème fraiche
    Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
    You can leave it now, till time to serve

    When ready to eat reheat slowly.
    Be careful it can catch on the bottom of the pan.

    Whisk in grated Parmesan and 2 tablespoons white wine.

    A Simple Salad was next
    Just some crispy Baby Cos lettuce
    Lovely Papaya
    Tomato (deseeded)

    Your favourite vinaigrette
    And some chopped chives.

    The Sandwich

    Two different Bruschetta
    Click here for the Garden Puree Topping
    And here for the Eggplant and Mozzarella
    An excellent lunch.

    Homemade Chicken Stock
    I am very impressed with Ina’s chicken stock recipe.

    It reads like any old stock you would normally make but the addition of parsnips have added a wonderful sweetness. Plus I used rosemary in place of dill. I think that would have added extra sweetness as well.

    It was worth making, not only for the cost (about 1/3 of the cost of buying ready made)
    But also, for the wonderful flavour.
    I will be making this, every week during the winter.
    This year it is going to be a Lunchtime Soup Event most days’.

    I have so many different flavours that I would like to try.

    I used 2 stock pots - 3 quarts each - for this amount of ingredients

    Just split the ingredients in half for each pot.
    Mrs Garten used 3 chickens. That is a bit over the top.
    I got carcasses from the supermarket, and complimented them with some chicken nibbles for extra flavour.

    4 chicken carcasses plus packet chicken nibbles
    3 large onions, unpeeled and quartered
    6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
    4 celery stalks with leaves, cut in thirds
    4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in 1/2
    20 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
    15 sprigs fresh thyme
    20 sprigs fresh dill /rosemary
    1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise
    2 tablespoons kosher salt
    2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

    Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips,
    parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, salt, and peppercorns
    in a 16 to 20-quart (litre) stockpot with 7 quarts (litres) of water and bring to a boil.
    I haven’t got a stock pot that big so I used 2 x 4 quart pots
    Skim the surface as needed.
    Simmer uncovered for 4 hours.
    Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander, discarding the chicken and vegetables, and chill.
    Discard the hardened fat, and then pack the broth in quart containers.

    Yield: 6 quarts (litres)

    Just a quick aside…another use for the Garden Pea Puree

    Make a Pithvivier

    A Pithivier (Pithiviers in French) is a round, enclosed pie usually made with puff pastry.
    The pie is traditionally finished with a distinct shine to the top of the crust, either by
    egg-washing or if making a sweet one… by the caramelizing of a thin layer of sugar at the end of the cooking process. It is baked directly onto a baking sheet and has a wheel pattern lightly scored onto the top of the pastry.

    Cut a circle out of a sheet of puff pastry
    Place on a greased baking sheet.
    Egg wash 1 cm around the edge with a brush

    Cover with 1 cup of the garden puree mixed with a little egg.
    Just enough to bind it.
    Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

    Place puree on the pastry
    Cover with grated cheese
    Cut out a slightly larger circle for the top.
    Score light with a sharp knife like wheel spokes.
    Place on top
    Seal the edge and crimp with a fork

    Make a little vent for the steam

    Bake in 190C oven for about 20 - 30 minutes until golden brown.
    We quickly demolished that half.


    Asha said...

    Happy birthday to her, great array of food to enjoy! :)

    So Simple said...

    I'll pass that on we did have a good day:)