Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A tale of Two Soups...Split Pea Soup and Potage St. Germain

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Remember the ham bone I told you to save? Depending on your mood and the occasion,here are two wonderful soups to make from your leftovers...Green Pea Soup Yankee style and its French cousin, Potage St. Germain. The latter is Andre Soltner's recipe from the famous and now defunct Lutece in New York City. I had the pleasure of dining at this restaurant for my husband's 40th birthday. Even though we did not have this soup, I will never forget the menu, which, amongst other things, included the tenderest venison I have ever tasted.

The first recipe is an adaptation from Yankee Magazine and is your typical American green pea soup. I make it so often that my book is split in two at this page.

Split Pea Soup

1 lb green split peas
3 quarts water
1 meaty ham bone
2 medium onions, sliced
1 clove garlic
parsley and thyme, 1 sprig each
2 tsps. salt
bay leaf
1 carrot, sliced
1 parsnip, sliced
1 rib celery. sliced
1 cup white wine

Soak the split peas overnight and drain. Put the peas in a large pot with water, the ham bone, and all other ingredients, except the white wine. Simmer on back of the stove for 2 hours or so,stirring occasionally. Remove the bone, cut off the meat and return meat to soup. Add the wine and simmer for 15 minutes.

Potage Creme St. Germain, Lutece

1/2 lbs. split peas
4 Tb. unsalted butter
2 oz smoked bacon, diced (I use ham when I have leftovers from a good smoked ham)
1 medium white onion, sliced
1 leek, white part only, cut in 1/4 in slices
1 carrot, peeled, cut in 1/4 in. pieces
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 bouquet garni(parsley, thyme bay leaf, tied with white string
3 slices white bread, crusts removed, cut in 1/4 in cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp chervil leaves

Wash the split peas in several changes of cold water. Then soak them in cold water for 2 hours. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt 2 TB. of the butter. Add the bacon or ham and saute over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add the onion, leek, carrot, garlic and saute over low heat for 3 more minutes.

Add the split peas and 1/2 quarts of water. Add the bouquet garni, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, and simmer over low heat, covered, for 1 1/2 hours.

While the soup is simmering, melt the remaining 2 TB of butter in a skillet and saute the croutons until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and set aside.

When the soup has cooked, remove the bouquet garni, puree the soup in a soup processor or blender (about 2 min) and pass through a fine sieve. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cream, add salt and pepper, stir in chervil and serve with the croutons.

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