Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Whisk Wednesdays - Julienne Darblay

Shari of Whisk: a food blog has been diligently following a culinary home course working primarily out the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home. I have been admiring her detailed and documented posts for some time and now, part way through lesson 13, I have decided to join in the fun. This is different from other cooking groups as it is focused on teaching specific culinary skills. Each skill learned may or may not become part of my repertoire but I will have greatly expanded my range in the kitchen.

This week we made a soup, Julienne Darblay. It is a creamed leek and potato soup with julienned vegetables. The soup had two parts as a stock had to be made as well. I made the stock the day before, to give myself a bit of a break in the kitchen.

I have never made a stock out of a whole chicken before. I have always used the bones, lots of aromatics and simmered in the crock pot until the bones start to break down (a la Alton Brown) usually 6-8 hours. With this stock you fish the chicken out after an hour and set it aside for any other purpose you might have for the meat. I just shredded it with two forks, tossed it with Franks Red Hot sauce and layered in on soft tortillas with cheese and veggies for lunch. Yum.

Back to the stock. The aromatics continue to simmer for 1 1/2 hours, then you strain it and chill it down as quickly as possible. At this stage I found the stock to be quite mild in flavour but it had a nice colour and texture.

The soup needed only 6 cups of the stock so the rest is reposing in the freezer for another use.

My first booboo was with the leeks. I was to julienne the greens and slice the whites into thin rounds. I misread the instructions and julienned both. I don't think it made too much of a difference.

The whites and the potatoes become part of the soup proper and the carrot, turnip and greens are all julienned, parboiled and added at the end for presentation. The soup is creamed, ladled over the veggies and topped with parsley or chervil.

The outcome? The soup was very pretty. I have nice soup bowls for dinners that revolve around a soup and I am always happy to bring them out. I got to use my food mill that hubby gave me for my birthday and I was proud of how hard I worked. The flavour? Very mild. I actually brought salt and pepper to the table to punch it up a bit. I haven't checked to see how the others fared yet (this little blogger took a wee morning nap after too many days of getting up at 5am with hubs), and am interested to see if they had the same results.

Hubby, always the gentleman, was very enthusiastic about the obvious hard work and technique that went into it and brought up a nice bottle of wine to go with it. Good man.

To learn more about Whisk Wednesdays or to see the blogroll, please visit Shari's site Whisk: a food blog.