Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Alchemy of Chance - Didier's Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

A guest post from our intrepid chef. In lieu of an eating tour of France, Janet is cooking her way through The Alchemy of Chance. We'll feature her recipes here on the blog and they'll be included in the enhanced digital version of the book.

"This meal, Sunday lunch, was a celebration of nothing more or less than the end of winter. All morning, Didier had been preparing the last of the season’s fare. His Jerusalem artichoke soup was kicked into life by the gratings of an earthy black truffle sent up from Périgord."

Besides a great read “The Alchemy of Chance” is a foodie’s dream of eating his or her way through France. I love the descriptions of the meals; everything is as it should be - wonderful food made simply with local, seasonal food. When I decided to attempt the recipes in the book I was committed to following Peter’s notion of using whatever ingredients were freshest and at hand so sometimes I have had to change a recipe because the ingredients he describes are not in season. Such was the case with the Jerusalem artichoke soup. He describes a wonderful soup resplendent with earthy black truffles; unfortunately truffles are not in season for another month here so I opted to use truffle butter instead. For a garnish I sautéed some wonderful small yellow foot chanterelles that are in season. The flavours were incredible. I think the idea is to change one’s recipes to suit the season so making changes to a recipe to suit what is available locally makes great sense. Of course if fresh truffles are available and you want to splurge the soup will be all the better for it, but this soup still has a wonderful truffle flavour and it won't hurt your pocket book.

Jerusalem artichoke Soup with truffles

4 Tablespoons butter (2 for the garlic and onions and 2 for the mushrooms)

1 clove of garlic chopped

1 small onion chopped

Approximately 1 pound of Jerusalem artichokes washed and cut into 1 inch pieces

2 1/2 cups of good chicken stock (homemade is best)

1/2 cup cream or use more chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

½ teaspoon truffle butter

½ cup of fresh wild mushrooms (whatever is in season) or ½ cup dried wild mushrooms such as chanterelles or small morels reconstituted in hot water

¼ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or chives

Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the garlic and onion until translucent. Add them to a medium pot with the Jerusalem artichokes and chicken stock and cook until the Jerusalem artichokes are soft (about 10 minutes).

While the soup is cooking add the 2 remaining tablespoons of butter to the pan and sauté the mushrooms.

When Jerusalem artichokes are tender, pour mixture into blender and process until smooth. Be careful when processing the hot liquid. When mixture is smooth strain it back into the pot to remove any lumps. Reheat soup adding cream if you are using it or additional stock. Add salt and pepper to taste and the truffle butter. Stir to combine.

To serve ladle soup into bowls. Add a tablespoon of sour cream to each bowl, and then place the mushrooms around the cream. Sprinkle bowl with finely chopped parsley or chives.

Bon Appétit

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