Sunday, March 15, 2009

Potage Crecy

I keep "deciding" to choose one recipe from each one of my cookbooks a month (at least) and to make it for Foodival. But then I keep... not doing that. I get excited about other food I want to make, I lose jobs, I get jobs with a lot of overtime (now, now now I only have Sundays not working, but look out for my show, DJ and the Fro, when it comes out in May!).... all in all, it doesn't happen easily.

However this time I picked a few recipes from a few books, and this is the first one. A few years ago I got a French cookbook as a present. It's a William's Sonoma cookbook, and I got it in conjunction with my Middle Eastern cookbook, which in the end I've cooked more from. However, I've learned a lot from my French cookbook. I've read it front to back a few times, while only ever using two recipes from it (I believe, I might have done four actually now that I think about it).

French cooking is supposed to be the.... not the epitome, per se, but it's the beginning. When being taught, most people are taught in the French style-- a lot of people go to master the french style of cooking, which has a lot of finesse and brings us words like mise en place and sautee and julienne. A lot of the fundamentals-- those are french, though every culture has them. So it's nice to go to French cooking (which I also love to eat, by the way, I'm a big fan of certain french fare-- such as cheese, and a lot of the pastries and street food) and do things the traditional way. The William's Sonoma book tells where things come from, too, and why things are named the way they are. Much like my Alton book's, but more to the point.

I picked this soup because, hell, I like soup. I wanted soup. I wanted something easy for me to take to work, heat up fast, and eat at lunch time that was filling (but not fattening) and healthy and delicious. This soup is all of those things.

It's a potage, which in French cooking there's three types of soup. The potage, which is a thick soup that's hearty and filling; the rich soups made from stock and sometimes cream, bisques; and the consommes which I guess are clear. I believe French Onion is made from consomme.

Anywho, I thought a potage might be nice. Potage Crecy is basically a potato and leek soup + carrots. Crecy is an area in France famous for it's carrots. All of this taught to me by William's Sonoma (who I bought my igloo cake pan from, go figure!).

This soup is more like potato and leek than carrot to me. I taste the carrots, they're slightly sweet, and I doubt I used enough... but it's a good, basic soup. It's hearty, it's got a good oniony/leeky flavor from the leeks, and it's got that slight sweetness of carrots. I didn't follow the recipe to a T, because I didn't want to add cream (I added a slight amount of milk), and I didn't... I don't remember what else I didn't want to do so changed.

It made a ton, I'm still eating the leftovers. I made it last Sunday and I've been having a bowl at least every couple of days. I'm excited to have some for lunch tomorrow.
Potage Crecy
Mildly Adapted from William's Sonoma French Cookbook

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, including the green parts, rinsed thoroughly and thinly sliced
5 thin, long carrots, washed and diced
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 - 3/4 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine
1/2 teaspoon groudn nutmeg
salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, melt the butter and the olive oil. Add the leeks and saute, sitrring occasionally until softened. Add the carrots and potatoes and saute for about 4 minutes, until softened.
Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the thyme and wine, cover, and allow to simmer until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Using a stick blender, puree the soup until thick and smooth. Mix in the lemon juice, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste, then add the milk. Bring back to a simmer, then adjust seasonings to taste.

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