leave your inhibitions at the door
Way, way, back in the beginning of this blog I used to do pro football predictions. To tie it in with the site, I spun a fruit or vegetable to pick winners of the games. Don’t laugh – those essentially random predictions often beat a panel of ESPN experts. If I chose more winners than the produce, I would feature it in a recipe or two.
This was the last of the football prediction recipes I did, so will probably be the last #TBT recipe. At least until I get lazy again and don’t want to post anything new. This one’s a doozy. Like all good Thomas Keller recipes, it’s a doozy in the number of steps. But it’s even doozier with how frickin’ good it is.
I got this recipe from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc cookbook, the source for the brownies I made on New Year’s Eve. The cookbook is supposed to have simplified, family style meals, but “simplified” to Thomas Keller is still worlds away from Sandra Lee or Rachael Ray. The recipes are not the type where you toss some rice and a can of soup in a pot and you’re done. These are sometimes pretty involved where a recipe calls for a particular ingredient whose recipe appears elsewhere in the book. When you get to that recipe, it has components that refer to a couple of other recipes. So, if you go by the book, you can end up doing 3-4 recipes. None of them are particularly difficult, just time-consuming.
Obviously, you can always substitute where you can. In this case, I opted to buy mushroom broth from Whole Foods as opposed to buying four pounds of mushrooms to make mushroom stock. With this recipe, all of the major components of this soup are cooked and kept separately. This allows a very clean soup where all of the individual flavors and textures are distinct and come shining through. Don’t get freaked out about the length of this recipe. Even with all the steps, I was able to make this soup in less than a two hours. It’s soooooo worth it.
1 – Heat 3 T of oil in a stockpot over medium hea
2 – Add carrots, leeks, onion and a generous pinch of salt, reduce the heat to low, cover with a parchment lid. (Circular piece of parchment paper that covers veggies, with hole in middle of it)
3 – Cook slowly for about 25 minutes. Veggies will have released their liquid but the carrots will not be tender yet
4 – Lift parchment lid, add garlic, and cook for 10 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Remove and discard parchment lid
5 – Meanwhile, remove and discard ribs from the kale leaves. Rinse under cold water, drain and cut into 1×3 inch strips. Set aside.
6 – Peel potatoes, quarter lengthwise, and cut crosswise into large pieces. Put the potatoes, sachet, and 2 tsp salt in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover, bring to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are just tender about 10 minutes. Drain and spread on a tray to cool; discard the sachet.
7 – Trim any woody ends from the mushrooms and break apart into bite-sized clusters.
8 – Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet and line with paper towels. Heat some canola oil in a large skillet over high heat until the oil shimmers. Add half the mushrooms, season with salt, and cook , without stirring, for a minute to allow the mushrooms to absorb the oil. Add half the butter, shallots, and thyme, toss and sauté until the mushrooms are lightly browned and tender, 6-8 minutes total. Transfer the mushrooms to the towel-lined rack. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels, heat additional canola oil, and cook the remaining mushrooms in the same way.
9 – Add the mushroom stock to thte stockpot and bring to a simmer. Season generously with salt and pepper. (The soup is best served just after finished but can be refrigerated at this point for up to 2 days.) Meanwhile, blanch the kale in a large pot of boiling salted water until wilted and just tender, 1.5-2 minutes. Drain.
10 – To serve, stir the garlic puree into the soup. Add mushrooms, kale, and potatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Pour into a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil.
Put the garlic in a small food processor and blend, scraping down the sides often, to puree. For a finer texture, press through a small fine-mesh basket strainer. I don’t own a food processor, so I mashed with a fork.
1 – Cut off and discard root ends of the garlic cloves. Put the cloves in a small saucepan and add enough oil to cover them by about 1 inch – none of the garlic cloves should be poking through the oil.
2 – Set the saucepan on a diffuser (I don’t have one) over medium-low heat. The garlic should cook gently: very small bubbles will come up through the oil, but the bubbles should not break the surface; adjust the heat as necessary and/or move the pan to one side of the diffuser if it is cooking to quickly. Cook the garlic or about 40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the cloves are completely tender when pierced with the tip of a kinfe. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the garlic to cool in the oil.
3 – Refrigerate the garlic in a covered container, submerged in the oil, for up to a week.