It’s a little cheesy, but ever since seeing the movie version of Julie & Julia I have wanted to begin cooking out of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. My talents in cooking does not usually include a recipe. I like to make my own adaptations, add what I have, and substitute ingredients. I figured that following a recipe and trying French cooking would both be noble challenges. The French and I share a mutual love for butter.
Soup is my strongest and favorite cooking medium, so I decided to start my adventure with a soup. This soup ended up being a 2-day event, but after that first bite, I decided it was well worth it! The soup had a special, rather minor, ingredient that I never would have thought to use in a cream soup–lemon!
Like I said, making this soup was a 2-day endeavor, with the first day spent making the base stock, and the second day for the actual soup (with the previous day’s stock).
Potage Parmentier (Onion and Potato Soup)
4 cups of peeled potatoes, diced
3 cups of thinly sliced onions
4 carrots, diced
2 quarts of water
1 tablespoon of salt
3 tablespoons of butter
1. Simmer vegetables, water, and salt together, for 40-50 minutes in a 4 quart saucepan, until the veggies are tender.
2. Mash veggies in a blender or food processor. Return to soup.
4. Add butter by the tablespoon to the soup.
Potage Veloute Aux Champignons (Cream of Mushroom Soup)
1/4 cup of onions, minced
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
6 cups of boiling stock (from recipe above)
1/3 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon of thyme
chopped stems from 1 lb. of fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons of butter
thinly sliced mushroom caps, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp of lemon juice
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
1. Cook onions slowly in the butter for 8 minutes, until tender but not browned.
2. Add flour to the onions and mix, cook for 3 minutes, but do not let it brown.
3. Off the burner, beat the boiling stock with the flour. Stir in mushroom stems, and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes. Strain the soup, pressing the juices out of the mushrooms stems.
4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a separate saucepan. Toss in mushrooms, salt, and lemon juice. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
5. Pour the mushrooms and their juices into the soup base. Simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Beat the egg yokes and cream. Take the soup off the burner, and slowly add the cream mixture. Place back on the burner, allow egg to cook, but not for the soup to simmer.
7. Off the burner, add the butter and mix.
This soup turned out AMAZING. While making the stock took extra time, and I could have used chicken stock, it made all the difference in the world. The stock, with its blended veggies added a thickness I am not sure would be possible with a chicken stock base. As I stated before, I was impressed with the zip that the lemon juice, which the mushrooms were sauteed in, added to the soup. This was actually the first time I was able to achieve the level of creaminess that I was looking for in a soup.
I didn’t follow Child’s recipe completely. I added additional seasons. Her original recipe has you slowly add the soup to the cream in a mixing bowl, as opposed to the opposite, which I did. However, it was a good soup. I think what is going to be the most rewarding of this process is the learning of cooking fundamentals. For the first time, I made and used a roux that was effective.