Soup is one of my favorite things in the world. I love it so much that even on a humid D.C. summer’s day, I’ll eat a piping bowl of it (sometimes the office AC makes me cold mmmk?). Week two of culinary classes built off of week one’s learnings and the chicken broth we made during that class was used to construct five ah-mazing soups.
Chef Brian talked a little about the history of soup and explained that most concoctions are born out of the things you have on hand. Soup du jour (soup of the day) is basically “soup of the day with whatever is in the fridge.” I love this approach because most evenings that is how I compose dinner. I’ll take inspiration from a certain ingredient we have on hand and then craft the rest of the meal around that. That said, no soup demonstrates this concept more than potage culitvatuer, which is basically a farmer’s soup. We got to make this one and it was really nice to spend time in the commercial kitchen to start putting our listening skills to the test. Twenty culinary students sharing burners and prep tables made for an interesting experience, but I loved the movement and the heat of the kitchen definitely made things intense!
My partner Scott and I also made a French onion soup which was incredible, especially with the heaping handfuls of gruyere cheese on top. Caramelizing the onions is the most important part of the dish and Chef Brian urged us to practice patience during this step, low and slow wins the race here. He also taught us to move the pan around the stove to cooler or hotter areas so as not to fiddle much with the temperature controls. Getting a feel for temperature, what it looks like and what it does to what you’re cooking is paramount to becoming a great chef.
Chef closed the class with a coconut lemongrass soup and a couple of pureed soups. The spaghetti squash puree and roasted eggplant soup were fantastic. Both soups were blended and passed through a chinois strainer to make them velvety smooth. The spaghetti squash had ginger and a granny smith apple for a tart bite while the roasted eggplant was accented with fresh toasted cumin seeds and cayenne. It was finished with a roasted red pepper coulis and a dollop of sour cream!