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More Velouté Cream Soups from Julia



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Cream Soups (cont.)

The Way to Cook
by Julia Child, 1989, a Borzoi Book
published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.


Master Veloute Recipe

Cream of Asparagus Soup

“This uses essentially the same method as the preceding broccoli soup,
but since there are slight differences, here are more details than usual.”

For about 2 quarts

1 cup sliced onions
3 tablespoons butter
2 pounds fresh green asparagus, washed
and butts trimmed
2 quarts lightly salted boiling water
2 tablespoons flour
Freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup or so heavy cream, crème fraîche,
or sour cream, optional
2 tablespoons butter, optional

Special Equipment Suggested:
A food processor and a sieve set over a bowl

The soup base and the asparagus: Start out with the soup base. Cook
the onions and butter slowly in the saucepan until tender and translucent. Meanwhile, cut 2 1/2 to 3 inches of tender green from the tip ends of the asparagus; drop them into boiling water and boil 3 minutes, or until barely tender. Dip out with a skimmer )reserving water), and refresh the aspar-
agus tips briefly in a bowl of cold water to set the color; drain and reserve. Chop the remaining stalks into 1.2-inch lengths and add to the onions with
a sprinkling of salt. Cover and cook slowly 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and
cook, stirring, 3 minutes more. Remove from heat, and, when bubbling
stops, blend in the hot asparagus cooking water. Simmer uncovered 25
to 30 minutes, or until tender enough to purée.
Puréeing the soup:
  Cut just the tips off the blanched asparagus tops; cut
the tips lengthwise in halves or quarters and reserve for final decoration.
Add the lower parts of the tips to the soup base, and purée the soup. Then,
to remove the asparagus strings, strain through the sieve, pressing juices
out of the ingredients. It will be a lovely pale green color – to keep it that way, reheat it only just before serving. Carefully correct seasoning.

Ahead-of-time note for roux-based soups and sauces:  Warm flour-based soups
and sauces will form a skin over their surface. The skin will not form if you stir
the soup frequently until it is cool. Or fill a large kitchen spoon with stock or
milk and lay the spoon just over the surface, tipping it to let the liquid float on
top. Or lay a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the surface, pressing it well.

To serve hot:  Just before serving, reheat the soup to the simmer, stirring
in cream if you are using it. Taste, and correct seasoning again. Decorate
each serving with the reserved asparagus tips (use them as is, or sauté
briefly in butter, if you wish).

To serve cold:
  Chill uncovered. Either stir in chilled cream (half a cup or
so) and ladle into soup cups, or float a dollop of sour cream on the surface
of each serving. Decorate with the reserved asparagus tips.


Curried Onion Soup

For 2 1/4 quarts, serving 6

Ingredients for the Velouté Soup Base,
using 4 cups sliced onions and
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fragrant curry powder
1/2 cup or so sour cream, heavy cream,
or crème fraîche, optional
Minced fresh parsley, or a dollop of sour cream
and faint dusting of curry powder for each serving

The soup: Sauté the onions for the soup base in the 4 tablespoons of butter, and, when tender, stir in the curry powder. Sauté 1 minute longer, stirring, then blend in the flour and continue as usual. Purée the soup or not, as you wish, and simmer a moment with the optional cream.
 Decorate each serving with parsley or sour cream and curry powder.


Curried Fish Soup

For 2 1/3 quarts, serving 6 to 8

Ingredients for the preceding Curried Onion Soup,
but you may wish to use only 1 to 2 cups onions,
and fish or chicken stock plus milk
1 pound (2 cups) or so very fresh-smelling
lean fish fillets such as sole, halibut, trout,
cod, hake, sea bass, pollack

The soup:  Prepare the base for the Curried Onion Soup, and let it simmer
its 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the fish into smallish bite-size pieces; when
the soup is ready, stir in the optional cream and the fish. Simmer 2 to 3
minutes, and correct seasoning.
  Serve as described for the Curried Onion Soup.


Cream of Corn Soup

“Here is one of the great solutions for fresh ears of corn that just
aren’t quite fresh and tender enough to make it alone on the cob.”

For about 2 3/4 quarts, serving 6 o 8

Ingredients for the Velouté Soup Base,
using 3 cups chicken stock,
3 cups milk, plus more milk or water
later, as needed
6 ears of fresh corn
(about 1 1/2 cups), grated
1/2 cup or so sour cream, heavy cream,
or crème fraîche, optional
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Decorative suggestions:
Rings of red pepper sautéed slowly in butter (3 per person);
or 1 teaspoon diced pimiento per serving;
or a mixture of cooked corn kernels and parsley,
floated on a spoonful of sour cream;
or minced chives or parsley

Special Equipment Suggested:
A corn grater is useful; a food processor, blender,
or vegetable mill if you wish to purée the soup.

The soup:  While the velouté base is simmering, grate the corn – if you have no special tool, run the cutting edge of a small knife down the center of each line of kernels, up-end an ear over a pie plate, and scrape out the pulp with the back of a knife. After the velouté has simmered 15 minutes, add the corn and simmer 5 minutes more – stirring up frequently from the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching. If too thick, add a little milk and/or optional
cream. Purée the soup if you want a smoother effect. Carefully correct
the seasoning.

Ahead-of-time note:  This soup gains in flavor when made an hour or
more in advance. [See Note above in Cream of Asparagus Soup recipe.]

Serving:  Bring to the simmer, stir in a little cream if you wish, taste
again for seasoning, and serve either as it is or with a decoration such
as those suggested.


Cream of Artichoke Soup

“What to do with all that good artichoke-flavored cooking liquid when you’re making artichoke bottoms – that’s the real name of this soup. That liquid is
known as a ‘blanc’, a lemony lightly thickened soup designed to prevent the
artichokes from darkening as they cook. It is a shame to waste expensive arti-
choke flavor, especially when you could get some meat off the discarded
leaves, and could easily cook 1 or 2 more bottoms for such as elegant soup.”

Manufacturing Note:  Here the lightly thickened artichoke cooking liquid
serves as the velouté base, but it needs simmering with sautéed onions to
give it more flavor. It the soup seems too lemony, dilute it with milk or
cream, or make additional velouté base.

For about 6 cups, serving 4 to 6

3/4 cup minced onions
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups cold water
1/4 cup flour in a 2-quart saucepan
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 very large artichokes 3 to 3 1/2
inches in diameter
1 lemon, cut in half, to use when
trimming the bottoms
Additional liquid as needed: milk, cream,
and/or light chicken broth

Final decoration:
1 to 2 tablespoons butter for sautéing
the sliced artichoke bottoms
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Special Equipment Suggested:
A heavy-bottomed 1 1/2-quart saucepan; a vegetable mill
with fine blade, or a food processor and sieve

The blanc: Gradually beat 3 cups of the cold water into the flour in the pan, and bring to the boil; simmer a moment, whisking, to be sure the liquid is smooth and lump free. Whisk in the 3 remaining cups of water with the salt and lemon juice.
Preparing the artichokes:
  Prepare them one at a time. Break the stem off the base of an artichoke. Holding the artichoke bottom up, bend a lower leaf back on itself until it snaps, then peel it off toward the base, leaving the meat at the bottom of the leaf attached to the bottom of the artichoke. Continue all around as shown [illustration in cookbook], until you have gone beyond the curve where leaves fold inward over the top of the artichoke bottom. Cut off the remaining cone of leaves at this curve. Rub cut portions with lemon to prevent discoloration. Save the leaves.
With a small sharp knife, and then with a vegetable peeler, trim off all bits of green to expose the tender whitish flesh around the bottom and at the leaf ends, frequently rubbing the cut surfaces with lemon. Drop the prepared bottom into the blanc and continue with the rest. (The choke is removed
after cooking.)
Cooking the artichoke bottoms – 30 to 40 minutes:
  Once all of the prepared artichoke bottoms are in the blanc, add a little more water if
they are not completely submerged. Simmer 30 to 40 minutes, until the
artichokes are perfectly tender when pierced with a knife. Let them cool,
then refrigerate in the liquid until needed.

Ahead-of-time note: They will keep perfectly in their cooking liquid for 2 or 3 days.

Scooping out the choke:  Shortly before using them. Wash the artichoke bottoms under cold water and scoop out the choke with a teaspoon. Trim off any tough leaf ends, and they are ready to go. Save the cooking liquid.
The soup base:
  Sauté the onions in the butter until tender and translucent – 6 to 8 minutes. Blend in the artichoke liquid and simmer 15 minutes, stirring frequently and adding more liquid if necessary, to prevent scorching.
The artichokes:
  Meanwhile, drop the discarded artichoke leaves in a kettle of lightly salted boiling water, and boil uncovered 20 minutes or so, until tender. Drain; refresh in cold water. Scrape the tender flesh off the inner bottom curves of the leaves – labor-intensive but worth it – and drop the flesh into the soup base. Trim rough edges off the artichoke bottoms and add the trimmings to the soup. Place them hollow side down, cut the artichoke bottoms into thin, neat, vertical slices, and set aside.
Finishing the soup base:
  Simmer the trimmings and the flesh from the leaves 5 minutes in the soup base. Purée the base and return it to the saucepan. Add more liquid, if needed, and taste very carefully for seasoning.
  Shortly before serving, heat the butter until bubbling, and gently warm the reserved artichoke slices, seasoning them lightly with salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of parsley. Ladle the soup into warmed soup cups, and decorate with the artichoke slices.

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