Archive for soup

Creole Crab Bisque

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We recently hosted a “Mardi Gras in May” themed party as a fundraiser for the local school.  We’ve riffed plenty about Cajun food in previous other posts, but we wanted to share this wonderful soup we developed for the event.    It was a huge hit, supremely elegant as a first course, and was pretty simple to make.

This soup is a spicy variation on the traditional crab bisque.   Our beloved Beck’s Devil Dust gave the dish some serious spice, but lent a complexity and depth of flavors that transcended the merely hot.   The bisque’s color is beautiful; served with finely chopped chives it makes an elegant first course.
Serves 4-6

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Beck’s Devil Dust
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
1 pound lump crab meat

1. In soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, forming a roux, and cook 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until it turns a light brown color.
2. Add tomato paste, onion, celery, garlic and seasonings. Saute 10 minutes or so until vegetables begin to soften. Add seasonings and broth.
3. Simmer over low heat 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves and puree soup with immersion blender or food processor.
4. Add crabmeat, heat, and serve.


Soupe Parmentiere ala Bistrot La Minette

We are huge fans of the authentically French Bistrot La Minette and the cuisine of Chef Peter Woolsey.  We dined at the restaurant last week, and were impressed to receive, with the bill, a slip of paper containing  Chef Woolsey’s recipe for Soupe Parmentiere along with a gentle reminder to share with those in need.

This was a really adroit way of urging patrons to help others, particularly at this time of year.

Soupe Parmentiere is a traditional leek and potato soup, and may contain any number of winter root vegetables. It is named after French Army Pharmacist Antoine-Augustin Parmentiere, who was taken prisoner by the Prussians during the Seven Years’ War in the mid 1700s and offered nothing but potatoes to eat.  Although potatoes were considered nothing more than animal feed at the time, M. Parm decided that survival was preferable to starvation, so he developed a soup using the potatoes, and the rest, as they say, is history.  More on this interesting story here, thank you

Although we have the luxury of a wider variety of dishes available to us than the imprisoned M. Parmentiere did, we love potatoes, and this soup does them justice.   Here’s Chef Woolsey’s version:

Soupe Parmentiere

1/2 stick butter

2 large onions, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

6-8 medium leeks, sliced

5 turnips, peeled and roughly chopped

8-10 potatoes, peeled if desired and roughly diced

1 celery root, peeled and roughly chopped

5-6 medium parsnips, sliced

3 sprigs fresh thyme

6-8 cups vegetable stock

salt and pepper

1-2 cups light cream (optional)

1.  Melt butter in large soup pot and saute garlic and onions.  Do not brown.

2.  When onions are translucent add leeks and saute until softened.

3.  Add remaining vegetables and thyme, and cover with vegetable stock.

4.  Simmer until all vegetables are softened and cooked through, approx 45 minutes.

5.  Season with salt and pepper. Puree and add cream if desired.

Bon Appetit!

Pasta E Faglioli Soup

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

On a blustery autumnal weekend, I slipped into a coffee shop for sustenance.  I  had this heart-warming Italian soup and decided on the spot that I wanted to try to repeat the recipe at home for my family.

I’m not a fan of clear watery soups, consommés, pureed soups, but give me a hearty stew-like concoction and I’m a happy bunny.  Hence this Pasta e Faglioli (pasta and beans) soup does the trick.

Rachel Ray’s simple 30 minute no nonsense version was a breeze to make.  Highly recommended.

After sweating down the veggies and the pancetta, I threw everything in a crockpot on low for a couple of hours and put my feet up.

The sweaty veggies smelt heavenly…

This soup came in useful during Hurricane Sandy, when the kids were unexpectedly off school for two days because of the stormy weather.

Paired with a couple of roast chickens we had an unexpected feast.