Sunday, February 26, 2017

Portobello Leek Crème Soup

     Rich Satisfying Crème Soup!
     The only time that cream soups do not sell well is when the outdoor temperatures are uncomfortably hot.  Even so, some people live or work in a chilly air conditioned environment and for this reason a rich crème soup can still be offered during the hot summer months.  On a chilly winter day, a rich chowder or crème soup is the perfect choice for warming up the palate.
     Leeks and Portobello Mushrooms are a nice for flavoring a cream soup.  Leeks have a gentle green garden bulb flavor that is perfect for a crème soup that is served in late winter.  Portobello are Italian Brown Field Mushrooms, which have a gentle, yet rich flavor that does not overpower the leeks.
     When featuring leek as an ingredient in a soup, it is best not to add shallots or onions, so there is no competing flavor.  The soup should also lightly seasoned, so the leek flavor is not masked.
     The mystique of puree soups disappeared with the advent of electric appliances.  Puree soups were labor intensive, before food processors, blenders and emersion blenders became standard kitchen equipment.  Puree soups often lack character in a way that is reminiscent of geriatric cuisine.  Precision cut ingredients add much needed character to a crème soup.

     Portobello Leek Crème Soup:
     This recipe yields about 4 cups.  (2 large soup bowl portions) 
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped leek.
     Gently sauté and sweat the leeks till they become tender with no browning.
     Step 2:  Add 2 cups of light chicken stock.
     Add 2 cups of milk.
     Add 1/2 cup of cream.
     Bring the soup to a gentle simmer.
     Step 3:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour while stirring with a whisk to make a roux.  (The roux should look smooth thick and shiny, not caky!)
     Stir till the roux is a pale whitish yellow color.
     Step 4:  Add the roux to the simmering soup while stirring with a whisk.
     Whisk till combined.
     *The soup should be a very thin consistency at this time.
     Step 5:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Bring the soup to a gentle boil.
     Add 2/3 cup of very thin sliced small Portobello Mushrooms.
     Add 1 small bay leaf.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme leaves.
     Lightly season with sea salt and white pepper.  (to taste)
     Briefly boil for about 1 or 2 minutes till the mushrooms are fully cooked.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the soup is a medium thin consistency that easily coats a spoon.  Stir the soup occasionally.
     *The soup should be just thick enough to keep the ingredients in suspension.  The finished volume should be about 4 cups.
     Keep the soup warm over very low heat or in 135ºF bain marie.
     Step 7:  Remove the bay leaf before serving.
     Ladle a 2 cup portion of the Portobello Leek Crème Soup into a shallow large soup bowl.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     Portobello Leek Crème Soup has a classic gentle flavor that easily pleases guests!  

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