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"The first Mrs. Astor, the Mrs. Astor, was a true eccentric. . .  Mrs. Astor made herself famous in social circles and infamous in culinary circles by putting down that great masterpiece of the dining art - soup. Mrs. Astor didn't serve soup at her famous dinners. . .  she even said, 'Why would anyone want to put their dinner on top of a lake?' Well, all I can say about Mrs. Astor is, what did she know about
love, having married for money?  Soup is a mainstay of civilization. It is a creative synthesis of flavors and textures, served in a comforting, back-to-childhood style;
or as a precise and perfectly elegant beginning to the shape of things to come. . .  free-lancers of every stripe cannot live without it. By that I mean writers, artists, inventors and confined housewives. Lives have been saved by soup..."
~ Liz Smith, from the foreword to 'Lee Bailey's Soup Meals'


Steak and Mushroom Soup Dinner
Lee Bailey’s Soup Meals
Main Event Soups in Year-Round Menus

Copyright © 1989 by Lee Bailey (Clarkson N. Potter)

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“Now here is a menu for the meat and potatoes crowd – in a slightly glamorized version. It begins with a baked potato, but not just an ordinary baked potato,
rather one dressed with a generous dollop of caviar. And the soup has cubes
of marinated steak and plenty of fresh mushrooms in it, accompanied by old-
fashioned drop buttermilk biscuits.
For dessert is an equally old-fashioned pear pudding cake.”

Baked Potatoes with Caviar
Steak and Mushroom Soup

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
Pear Pudding Cake


Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

"Here are my old standbys. Easy to make, they only have to be the proper consistency for success. And even if they are not, they will simply flatten
out a little too much, but will still taste good."

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and soda together into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks and then cut into flour
with a pastry blender or 2 knives until butter is the size of large peas. Add buttermilk all at once, and stir just enough to mix. Drop by tablespoons
onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between. Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes 18 biscuits.


Pear Pudding Cake

“Delicious, and as easy as the biscuits to make.”

1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 tablespoon coarsely grated lemon rind [zest]
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup peeled and coarsely diced firm pear
Vanilla Sauce [recipe included in cookbook]
or vanilla ice cream
[Or use this Crème Anglaise, or lightly
sweetened whipped cream…]

Pear slices
Lemon juice
Lemon rind or strips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees [F]. Generously butter an 8-inch square
baking dish.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs and beat for several minutes, until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the bourbon and lemon rind [zest], mixing well again. Fold in nuts and pear. Pour into baking dish and bake until puffy and brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Serve with Vanilla Sauce or vanilla ice cream, garnished with a few slices
of fresh pear bathed in fresh lemon juice and topped with a bit of lemon
rind or a few lemon strips if you like.
Serves 6

Here’s How

“This menu is not particularly ‘do-aheadable,’ but even so it is comparatively uncomplicated to prepare and shouldn’t be a problem if you can get started
several hours before you want to serve the meal.
Set the steak to marinating, then prepare the vegetables and mushrooms for the soup. Set aside. Sift the dry ingredients for the biscuits and cut in the butter.
Cover and stash in the refrigerator. The biscuits will then only take a minute
later to stir up with the buttermilk and can go into the oven as you start eating
the first course. (Do not add the buttermilk until you are ready to bake the biscuits.) And speaking of that, timing is more or less geared to when the potatoes are due to come out of the oven, since they should be served hot.
Make the dessert to bake along with the potatoes if you have 2 ovens, or earlier
in the afternoon if you don’t. Ideally, it is served warm, but this is not strictly necessary.”

Back to Steak and Mushroom Soup Dinner, page 1

Featured Archive Recipes:
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