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Jan 2, 2010 03:34 PM

January 2010 COTM: Patricia Wells SOUPS

Welcome to the SOUPS thread for the January 2010 Cookbook of the Month, featuring Bistro Cooking & Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy.

Please post your reviews of Soups of the Day (BC) and Soups(T) here.

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  1. Potage aux Lentilles avec Saucisses de Porc (Lentil Soup with Pork Sausages), Pg. 34, Bistro Cooking

    Since I love my food "well seasoned and full flavored" I had to start off the New Year with a hearty soup. And, since DH loves soup, period, he was in favor. Nice ingredients; smoked bacon, a leek, carrot/onion/celery. Lovely spices: ground cumin, 4 whole cloves! Also lentilles de Puy and 4 smoked pork sausages (I used v. spicy chicken sausages). It all goes together as one might suspect...after sautéing the chopped vegetables and spices the lentils and water are added with S & P. The soup is simmered for about an hour. DH liked it very much. I didn't. I don't understand the hype for the de Puy lentils, I guess. To me they have an mild earthy flavor and I prefer a bolder taste. But it's a simple enough recipe and would suit many people. There's quite a bit left over so I'm going to use that to augment some turkey and rice soup for Tuesday dinner. Should be interesting.

    Also, I served freshly baked crusty bread with Gorgonzola and La Salade et Vinaigrette de Tante Yvonne, pg. 63.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      Sounds tasty, plus it's good luck to eat lentils on New Year's, right?

      1. re: yamalam

        Gio: I bow to your more sensitive taste buds. I can't really tell the difference between Puy lentils and red or brown lentils except for the crunchiness of the Puy lentils. I actually find that lentils don't have much taste at all, but pick up the flavors of what they're cooked with...I usually use ham hocks or sausages. The fresh-baked bread with gorganzola and salad sound fab!

        It's really cold here in Oakland today (I know, I know, snickers and jeers from you who are in REALLY cold places. Here we consider the low 50s just about freezing. We're just a bunch of wimps. However, hearty soup and salad with hot bread sounds pretty great!

    2. Pain de Fenouil et Saffron Jacques Collet (Jacques Collet's Fennel and Saffron Bread), p.23, Bistro Cooking.

      I'm putting this here, because this bread actually appears in the soup chapter as an accompaniment to Bouillaibaise Bacon. I did make a fish soup and a rouille with this bread, but I cobbled together my own ideas for the soup, which included tomatoes, shrimp and fish (Wells' recipe was far too huge for me), and I used Sally Schneider's rouille recipe.

      But the bread! Yes, I thought this sounded like a great idea, a little worried that having saffron in the bread and the rouille and the soup would be too much, but it actually worked very well.

      The bread is a basic direct set white bread with a bit of semolina flour to mix it up. The seasonings include ground saffron, ground fennel seed and sugar. I quite like the result--it's not overwhelmingly spicy or flavored, but just enough to keep me wanting to have another slice.

      Had it this morning as the base for a couple of eggs fried in olive oil with some roasted red peppers. It's also good just toasted with butter. I plan to have a fish sandwich on it later this week.

      All in all--two big thumbs up!

      1. Double celery soup (Bistro cooking, pg. 31-32)

        This was a really delicious and satisfying soup - if you like celery. For some reason, I had all this leftover celery and a miscellanous celery root, and behold, the perfect recipe for all my ingredients.

        So easy, combine the two chopped celeries, leeks and miscellaneous herbs (thyme, bay leaves, parsley) and add chicken stock (I used boxed). Let it simmer until everything is tender and add S&P.

        I was a bit dubious because of the simplicity and the lack of saute on the vegetables. But, we really enjoyed it. Somehow, the flavors became really rich and vibrant which is odd since there is no fat or protein to the dish.