Saturday, January 29, 2011

The great soup debate part 3 of 3

The Great Broth - Cream Soup Debates part 3
We pick up the action from where we left off yesterday.  Chef LaVache's Sous Chefs had made a French Onion soup for Dr. Such's challenge.  While they were hard at work at one side of the kitchen in Cleveland's famous "Château des Huit Chats Fous" restaurant, Chef Besciamella had called his assistants aside.

“Dr. Such wants a cream soup from us.  Let's build a Cream of Leek Soup.  You will need a vegetable stock, a bechemel sauce, and of course leeks.  Build the soup, and I will be back to check on you later."

Chef Besciamella walked out to the stunned silence of his sous chefs.

"That was less than impressive"

"Guess it's up to us"

"So for our stock, let's get the leftover ends and bits of vegetable pieces that we save in the root cellar as well as the ends of the leeks and start them boiling.  The success of this soup will depend on how rich we can make this stock!"

After a check of the root cellar and the larder, Chef Besciamella's troops came back with some onions, some green beans, the parsnip Chef LaVache's sous chef's didn't want, some carrots, some celery leaves, asparagus ends, onion peels, broccoli stalks, cauliflower,  and a zucchini.

"This should work"

Everything was put into the pot, spices were added along with salt, it was covered with water, about 12 cups, and allowed to boil.  And boil.  And boil.  When the liquid was reduced to about half, they replaced it and boiled it down again.

When the vegetable stock was ready, it was drained through a sieve.

Meanwhile, several leeks were cut, cleaned and sauteed in butter.  Once they were soft, they were removed from the butter and flour was added to the butter. Once combined, the warm milk was added along with a little salt.

Once the mixture started to bubble, 6 cups of stock and 2 cups of cream were added slowly.  When the soup came to a boil, the leeks were added back.

When the time came Dr. Such and the Mayor sat down for dinner and the soups were served.



Chefs Besciamella and LaVache were called forward for the final verdict.
Dr, Such began, "Both soups were remarkable, meals in and of themselves.  Chef LaVache, you made the Onion Soup?"


"And Chef Besciamell, you made the Cream of Leek soup?"



Both chefs looked perplexed, looked at each other and then said, "Yes. Of course"

2 months later, the restaurant reopened under all 6 sous chefs. The morals of the story?
  • No one soup is better than another, it all depends on what you're in the mood for.
  • Work together in the kitchen
  • Be creative and think sideways
Cream of Leek Soup

Vegetable Stock
(These can vary - store odds and ends in your freezer to make stock)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 pound green beans
  • Ends of 2 large leeks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 stalks celery, including some leaves
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 spring fresh rosemary
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 parsnip
  • 12 cups water
  1. Peel and slice onion. Clean and chop all vegetables into large chunks.
  2. Place all vegetables into pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 hours.
  3. If liquid reduces to below 8 cups, add additional water.
  4. Strain stock. Discard vegetables, and seasonings
Bechamel  Instructions


  • 2 large leeks
  • 1/4 cup butter plus 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Warm a large skillet on stove over medium heat.  Melt butter.
  2. Remove stem end, 4-6 inches of green end, and outer layer of leek.  Rinse well and reserve for stock.
  3. Halve Leek and rinse well.  Slice into pieces
  4. Add leek to skillet.  Stir frequently until leek becomes soft and translucent.
  5. Remove leeks from skillet.  Add 1/4 cup butter
  6. When additional butter is melted, whisk in 1/4 cup flour.  Mix until smooth paste is formed.
  7. Add milk.  (some recipes call for warm, if your milk is cold, add slower)
The Final Assembly

  1. Move Bechamel into stockpot
  2. Slowly add vegetable stock and cream alternating between both.
  3. Return leeks to stockpot
  4. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes

Two bits of business

1)  Thank you for your patience with this odd 3-part series.  The Editor-in-chief and I have spoken and I can assure you it won't happen again for a while.  In the meantime I have to go write 100 times "I do not think I am Alton Brown." (Best penmanship too)

2) I got Hollandaise sauce this morning!!!  THANKS ALEX!  Pictures tomorrow.  Alex made what I now consider the World's Best BLT!  It consisted of a pan toasted English Muffin with a little cream cheese, wild lettuce, tomato, crispy bacon, hollandaise sauce, served over crispy hash browns.  Wow.  Really.  Wow!

Picture tomorrow.

Until tomorrow, I wish you all Peace, Love, and Hollandaise Sauce (with an English Muffin).

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