Saturday, 21 March 2009

Hip! Hip! Purée! Hip! Hip! Purée!

For many cooks and chefs, some of our best creations come either by accident or by utilizing up some stuff in your fridge that has to be used up. The latter is more common and is the case for this recipe.

Last night I taught a class in Ottawa. Most of the people attending were friends and colleagues of my Savoury Student also known as my wife. Because of that, I felt like treating them to something that wasn`t on the menu. And so I made an extra recipe using up a vegetable stock I had made from the trimmings of the vegetables and using leftover vegetables the cooking school had in their fridge from a previous class.

That's the great thing about cooking: thinking on the fly and being creative. You see, in baking, you'd have to be very experienced and confident to simply whip somthing up using leftovers. I find that when dealing with breads and pastries, you are usually following a recipe fairly stictly. In making a soup on the other hand, it actually improves your culinary skills because it forces you to learn what ingredients that have an affinity with others. Further, it increases your confidence in cooking without a recipe. Try it and don't be discouraged by the results of your first few times. This is how cooks and chefs increase their skills: combining ingredients you`re unsure about together and taking risks. And when they work and you`ve created something you`re proud of, then you understand one of the reasons why some people become chefs: the gratification of creating a new and different dish.

Carrot and Cantaloupe Purée

8 Carrots, peeled and chunked
Half a Small Cantaloupe, chunked
3 Small Cooking Onions, roughly chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, chrushed
Half a Red Pepper, chopped
A Few Pinches of Dried Ginger
3 l Vegetable Stock
Drizzle of Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a stock pot, heat oil. Cook onion until slightly golden. Add garlic and peppers and continue to cook for 1 minute. Add carrot and dried ginger and sauté for 2 minutes. Add stock and cantaloupe and bring to a boil. Cook thoroughly until carrot is tender. Using a blender, carefully purée soup until desired consistency. Season to taste while hot.

Serve with desired garnish. e.g. chives, parsley, goat`s cheese wrapped in phyllo, whatver

Serves 12

Variation: I`m sure this would work well with some other type of juice. I you have leftover cranberry, blurberry or fruit cocktail, use up some in this recipe for some added sweetness and depth.

A Humble Chef`s tip: I`ve used this tip in the past but I`ll use it again, if you don`t feel like peeling and chopping all your carrots, feel free and use the baby carrots for added convenience.

1 comment:

B. T. said...

I was at said event and I'll attest that the soup was delicious. I'm not sure if I'll ever make soup for 12, but memories of loblaw's makes me want to try :-p

Thanks for the awesome lesson.