A Trio of Soups
The Trio

A Trio of Soups

My college-aged children arrive home for the holidays like most people’s: mere shadows of themselves, survivors of the semester, starving for mom’s cooking.   I am all too ready to comply as I’ve been in the seasonal spirit for weeks.  The French build up to the holidays with lovely dinners beginning in early December, each replete with the special foods of the season from oysters to smoked salmon, pâté de foie gras and coquilles St. Jacques, so we are primed by the time the big days of Christmas and New Years’ eve arrive.

But I’m faced with a small challenge that many of you may have:  my daughter is vegetarian, my son vegan.  They aren’t averse to occasionally falling off the wagon for a nugget of butter or an egg folded into a cake batter or cookie dough, but forget meat or seafood.  These are “interdits” or forbiddens.  I was vegetarian for a decade and I’m still vegetable-oriented, thus empathetic.   So, I fill the refrigerator with hummus and raw vegetables, make sure that I have plenty of soups in the freezer, and check that lentils, bulgur, chickpeas, polenta, and various varieties of rice are all where they should be. I then make plenty of peanut butter, and set that next to the almond and hazelnut butter on the shelf.   The children – who aren’t really children anymore – arrive, and I’m prepared.

But I still want to make something fancy and special for the holidays, I like to dress it up. This year I found a lovely solution for a first course that I want to share, quickly, because you may still find yourself with the desire to serve something elegant and delicious that meet dietary demands.  What follows is one of my holiday menus, and recipes to help you along the way with merriment, flavor, and color!

Bon Appétit!

THE MENU

Roasted Almonds with Honey and Thyme
A Trio of Soups* (recipes or links included)
Potato Galette with Green Salad
Christmas Cookies

What follows are recipes or links for the three soups.  The Galette recipe is in French Farmhouse Cookbook – simply substitute olive oil for the duck or goose fat.

I suggest that to make it very lovely you’ll need a demitasse for each soup (they don’t have to match).  You’ll have to decide if you want a separate spoon for each soup.  And you may want a pretty napkin on the plate to keep the cups from spinning and sliding as you serve them. Try these, enjoy them all together, and Happy Rest of the Holiday Season!

You can make and freeze the soups, then get them from the freezer right before you plan to serve them.  The recipes, or links to them, follow:

Beet Soup (omit the cream and garnish with mache leaves!)

Squash Soup with Star Anise

Print Recipe
BEET SOUP WITH CREAM CLOUDS- SOUPE DE BETTERAVES
For the Beets: 1 pound 8 ounces (750 g) raw beets, scrubbed clean Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper For the Vegetable Broth: 1 medium (3 oz.; 85g) onion, peeled and coarsely chopped 4 shallots (2.3 oz; 65g total), peeled and coarsely chopped The white and part of the green of 1 leek, trimmed and cut into thin rounds 1 small (2 oz.; 60g) carrot, peeled, trimmed and cut into very thin rounds 1 small bunch fresh thyme 1 fresh bay leaf from the Laurel nobilis, or 1 dried, imported bay leaf One half ounce chunk of ginger that measures 2-inches; (5cm;15g), cut in thin coins 2 quarts (2 liters) filtered water ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt For the garnish and to finish the soup: 1/2 cup (125ml) crème fraîche or heavy, non ultra-pasteurized cream 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper 1 small shallot, finely minced 18 small sprigs of mâche (lamb’s lettuce) or other seasonal green or herb
Course First Course
Cuisine French
Keyword bay, beets, cream
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1-1/2 hours
Servings
servings
Course First Course
Cuisine French
Keyword bay, beets, cream
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1-1/2 hours
Servings
servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220°C).
  2. Place the beets in a heat proof baking dish, and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Pour about 1 inch (2.5cm) water in the bottom of the dish, cover, and bake the beets until they are soft through, 1 to 1-1/2 hours, depending on the size of the beets. Test for doneness by inserting a sharp knife blade into the center of the beet; you should feel no resistance. Remove the beets from the oven and let cool. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, trim and peel them.
  3. Make the vegetable broth: Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and cover with the water. Add the coarse sea salt, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium and cook, covered, until the vegetables are soft and have lost their flavor, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat and strain, discarding the vegetables and herbs. Reserve.
  4. Make the crème fraîche garnish: Whisk 1/ 4 cup (60ml) of the crème fraîche until it is very, very firm and will easily hold a stiff peak. Whisk in the white pepper and using two teaspoons, make 12 quenelles (oval shapes). Place them on a plate, and refrigerate.
  5. Cut 3 ounces (90 g) of the cooked beet into a tiny dice, and reserve. Coarsely chop the remaining beets. Bring 4 cups (1 quart;1 liter) of the vegetable broth to a boil in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat. Add the coarsely chopped beets, stir, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook for 20 minutes, until the beets are very soft. Transfer the beets and their cooking liquid to the work bowl of a food processor or use a hand blender to purée, then return to the saucepan. Add the remaining 1/4 cup (60ml) crème fraîche to the soup and heat just until it is hot. Taste for seasoning.
  6. Evenly divide the beet soup among 6 warmed soup bowls. Set two quenelles in the center of each of the bowls of beet soup. Alternatively, you may place a small dollop of the seasoned crème fraîche in the center of each of the bowls of soup. Sprinkle with equal amounts of diced beet and minced shallot, garnish with the mâche, and serve immediately.
Share this Recipe
 
Print Recipe
POTIMARRON (KURI) SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP - SOUPE AU POTIMARRON ET POMMES
POTIMARRON (KURI) SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP - SOUPE AU POTIMARRON ET POMMES
Course First Course
Cuisine French
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1-1/2 pounds (750g) kuri squash peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon moundedcoarse sea salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin seed or extra virgin olive oil
Course First Course
Cuisine French
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1-1/2 pounds (750g) kuri squash peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon moundedcoarse sea salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin seed or extra virgin olive oil
POTIMARRON (KURI) SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP - SOUPE AU POTIMARRON ET POMMES
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the squash and the apple, stir, and cover it by 3-inches (7.5 cm) with filtered water. Add the sea salt and the cinnamon stick and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, cover and cook until the squash is tender through, about 25 minutes.
  2. Remove the cinnamon stick, purée the soup, then season it to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the soup among six soup bowls. Drizzle each bowl with an equal amount of pumpkin seed oil, and serve.
Share this Recipe

This Post Has 8 Comments

    1. Susan

      Thanks Cathy! It’s a a big surprise…because it’s so simple.

  1. Sue

    Hi Susan,
    The link to the recipe for the Beet Soup in the Trio of Soups is not working, would you be able to send it to me please?
    Thank you
    Sue

    1. Susan

      None of these errors are my fault – it’s the virus. (Joking). Of course, let me see what I can do!

  2. Sue

    Thank you so much Susan, I finally found it!
    Love your posts and wish I was young and fit enough to travel again to visit On Rue Tatin…

    1. Susan

      Sue – why thank you! I’m glad you enjoy the posts!

  3. Sue

    One other thing, the soup recipe with the star anise in it omits the spice in the ingredients and in the method omits removing the cinnamon stick.

    1. Susan

      Sue – go take a look at the recipe!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.