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IMG_6493Soupe, potage, velouté, crème: quelle différence?
La soupe est plutôt liquide, et le potage un peu épais (et parfois additionné de viande, de morceaux). Le velouté, lui, est une soupe mixée avec une texture onctueuse – on y ajoute parfois de la Maïzena pour l’épaissir. Enfin la crème, c’est un velouté dans lequel un oeuf ou de la crème a été ajouté. Évidemment, tout cela n’est pas figé, et bien souvent, le terme
“soupe” englobe l’ensemble.

Soup: It is one of the great pleasures of winter: the gentle aromas of healthy mixed vegetables that takes over the kitchen. It is incredibly easy to prepare and almost anything goes.
One golden rule: use good, fresh vegetables. The notion that soup is a way of using old veggies is a myth. Now obviously if it is to avoid waste and throwing away of some you forgot to use on time, then by all means rather use them in a soup then throw them out, but otherwise, fresh is always better, the taste in your plate will be guaranteed. If they are organic and bio, do not peel them – unless they have a tough skin such as celery root and pumpkin. It is in the skin that all the vitamins are concentrated. To clean and remove all reside of dirt, use a vegetable brush and rinse in water. Non organic, always peel them. Also, do not worry too much about the size of the pieces that you cut, as most times, the result will be pureéd. Soup should always be cooked on a gentle simmer and not at a rapid boil as this will destroy the nutrients. One of the secrets to a good soup are the seasonings! Flavored salt, exotic peppers, herbs de Provence, spices… It is your choice of seasonings and spices that will elevate the classic recipes to something unique and special. Do not be scared to add a pinch of curry, nutmeg etc. Play with the textures as well and add some crunchy ingredients such as chopped nuts, squash seeds, croutons, bacon.

Today, I am sharing a classic French soup, carrot soup. Crécy is an area in France where the best carrots are grown and thus where the name originates but any young, small to medium carrot will work. What is quite unique in this recipe, if you do it the traditional way, is that the only ingredient are carrots, (not even onions, leeks or potatoes), and good quality chicken stock. Simple, no? I added an onion and a pinch of cumin but otherwise kept it very traditional and it is sooo good. The addition of the bacon gives it some texture. Feel free it cut it up into small pieces if you prefer. This is a recipe served by Yannick Alléno, one of France’s greatest chefs in his Parisian bistros. He serves it with the slice of bacon whole for visual effect.

 

POTAGE DE CRÉCY AU POITRINE FUMÉ

Pour 5 personnes

Ingrédients:

1,25 kg de carottes
1 onion
Huile d’olive
1 litre de fond blanc de volaille
5 tranches de poitrine nature ou fumé de 3mm d’épaisseur
Sel et poivre noir

Préparation:

Lavez les carottes et coupez-les en fines rondelles
Émincez les onions
Faites chauffer l’huile dans une cocotte et faites-y revenir les oignons pendant quelque minutes
Ajoutez les carottes et faites-y revenir pendant 5 minutes en reuant de temps en temps
Salez et poivrez
Couvrez de bouillion à hauteur et poursuivez la cuisson de 15 minutes, jusqu’à ce que les carottes soient tendres
Mixez-les au robot pendant 2 minutes pour obtenir une consistance crémeuse
Faites cuire la poitrine à la poêle
Versez la soupe dans les bols chauds
Déposez une tranche de poitrine dans chaque assiette
Terminez par un tour de moulin à poivre
Bon Appétit!

HEARTY CARROT SOUP

Serves 4 to 5

Ingredients:

1.25 kg /2 1/2 pounds carrots
1 onion
olive oil
1 liter / 1 3/4 pints / 4 cups chicken stock
5 slices of thick bacon
1 teaspoon of cumin (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Wash and cut the carrots into thin slices
Finely dice the onion
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven and cook the onions until translucent but not colored
Add the carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
Season with salt and pepper
Cover the carrots with the bouillon and continue to cook at a simmer for 15 minutes until the carrots are tender
Add cumin if using
Purée in a food processor until you obtain a creamy texture, about 2 minutes
Cook the bacon in a sauté pan until lightly crisp and golden
Pour the soup into heated soup plates or bowls
Place a slice of bacon on each plate
Finish with some freshly ground black pepper
Enjoy!

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