Roux the Day

poleek

The next lesson in the Soup unit provided insight on roux-based soups. Roux-based soups are often referred to as cream soups and have a silky-smooth and cream-like consistency. But here is an interesting fact: Roux-based soups are actually based on a thin velouté sauce or a thin béchamel sauce. The practice assignments consisted of cream of broccoli, cream of asparagus, and cream of cauliflower soup. My favorite was the cream of cauliflower. It was very good and I am going to try roasting the cauliflower first the next time I make it for some added depth and smokiness. More…

The next lesson in the Soup unit provided insight on roux-based soups. Roux-based soups are often referred to as cream soups and have a silky-smooth and cream-like consistency. But here is an interesting fact: Roux-based soups are actually based on a thin velouté sauce or a thin béchamel sauce.  The practice assignments consisted of cream of broccoli, cream of asparagus, and cream of cauliflower soup. My favorite was the cream of cauliflower. It was very good and I am going to try roasting the cauliflower first the next time I make it for some added depth and smokiness.

The next lesson was on starch-based thick soups that are made by cooking starchy vegetables, legumes or grains together with a liquid. This was graded assignment of which I chose to make Leek & Potato soup. The other two options, I printed out to make later.To make this soup (after mise en place). I melted the butter over medium heat. Once completely melted, I added the onions and sweat them about 5 minutes to soften. I added the garlic and cooked for an additional minute. I then added the leeks and salt, stirred, and covered to sweat until softened; for about 7 minutes. At this point, I added the potatoes, stirred to combine, and then added the stock. I ended up having to add all 4 cups of stock to just cover the ingredients. I brought the soup to a simmer and then put a lid on and cooked for 10 minutes. I tested to see of the potatoes were ready, but they were not, so I continued simmering over medium-low heat for an additional 5 minutes; checking each minute for doneness. Once the soup was done, I turned off the heat and ladled in enough soup to fill a 1/3 of my blender; taking care to only add enough stock/liquid to blend well. I then poured the blended mixture through a fine mess colander for added smoothness into a sauce pan. I repeated this process 2 more times. I heated the soup back up. In the end, I did not have any leftover liquid as the soup needed it to come out the right consistency. I also added a bit of cream and pepper. It did not need any additional salt.

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To serve the soup, I heated back up to temperature; tasting one last time for seasoning. In the end, I had already added enough seasoning but added just a bit more cream. I warmed the bowls and grilled some bread. I then ladled the soup into the bowls, sprinkled some chives on top and placed the grilled bread. The soup was well balanced with a velvety feel in the mouth. I found this activity especially satisfying as the onions and leeks came from my very own garden! The next time I make this, the potatoes and garlic will come from my own garden as well.

Smooth, Silky, Thick, or Chunky

soup

Unit Eight takes the base of making stock and broth and runs with it in an entire unit on soup! I learned how to make four basic soup bases: broth-based clear, stock-based clear, roux-based, and starch-base and builds on previous skills, such as stocks, broths, knife skills, and seasoning. The unit starts with a lesson on clear broth soup and then a lesson and graded assignment in which you choose one of two clear stock soups. I chose to make the Caldo Verde soup. I started by making my stock. I then set up my mise en place by finely dicing a yellow onion and mincing some garlic cloves. I shredded kale and savoy cabbage. I thinly sliced sausages and peeled and diced potatoes. More…

The choice is yours.

Unit Eight takes the base of making stock and broth and runs with it in an entire unit on soup! I learned how to make four basic soup bases: broth-based clear, stock-based clear, roux-based, and starch-base and builds on previous skills, such as stocks, broths, knife skills, and seasoning.

The unit starts with a lesson on clear broth soup and then a lesson and graded assignment in which you choose one of two clear stock soups. I chose to make the Caldo Verde soup. I started by making my stock. I then set up my mise en place by finely dicing a yellow onion and mincing some garlic cloves. I shredded kale and savoy cabbage. I thinly sliced sausages and peeled and diced potatoes.

To begin cooking, I heated a stock pot to medium-low and added olive oil. I then added the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt; sweating for about 8 minutes until translucent. At this point, I added the potatoes and another pinch of salt and cooked for another 5 minutes until slightly softened. From here, I increased the heat to medium-high, added the stock and a bit more salt; bringing the soup to a simmer. I know this may seem like a lot of salt, but it really wasn’t as I was using a pinch at a time. I let simmer for approximately 10 minutes while I cooked the sausage. Once the sausage was browned on both sides, I transferred to a cooling tray lined with paper towel. I made sure to set aside some of the rendered fat for later.

I then lightly mashed some of the potatoes, added the kale and savoy cabbage and brought the soup back to a simmer and let cook for a little over 5 minutes. I mashed the potatoes a bit more, but not too much, as I wanted enough chunky potatoes in the soup to provide some textural diversity. I added the cooked sausage and added a bit more salt and some pepper.

soup

To serve, I simply ladled the soup into the warmed bowls and added a drizzle of the reserved fat over each. I brought the rest of the rendered fat the table for dipping bread in as it had a great flavor and color. The combination of the bread dipped in the soup after being dipped in the oil was my favorite part of the meal. The soup was hearty, but not heavy. The combination of the kale and cabbage was perfect, providing slight bitterness with sweetness and additional textures. The sausage was slightly overcooked and tasted much better the next day when it had time to soak up some of the stock.