Look no further for your final holiday indulgence
December 31, 2013
New Year's Eve is a new beginning, full of resolutions for the upcoming 12 months. Many folks consider Dec. 31 as the final hurrah before the healthy eating, working-out and re-inventing commences.
Therefore, in a celebratory spirit, I offer you a few calorie-indulgent soups for warming the soul and rejoicing in this festive holiday. As I plan our "Ring in the New Year" recipes, I ponder the decadent ingredients most associated with New Year's Eve: Lobster and all succulent seafood, hearty filet mignon and rich and creamy fondue. In light of these sumptuous savories, I suggest a few fancier and more elaborate culinary creations, in sipping form.
From Breckenridge, think of lobster tails in the form of Hearthstone Restaurant's lobster bisque, recognized as a "perfect soup for special occasions". Or, from Whistler, British Columbia, consider filet mignon with sauteed mushroom caps in the form of Araxi Restaurant's flavor-rich mushroom consomme with herbed crepes. And, from Ludlow, Vt., contemplate the famous cheese fondue in the form of Echo Lake Inn's apple and Brie soup, which are already perfectly paired and quintessentially northeastern, thus requiring a few additional ingredients.
Have a Happy New Year and prepare to indulge, for the looming resolutions are right around the corner.
4 pounds lobster shells
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1 cup tomato paste
¾ cup brandy
¾ cup sherry
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
3⁄8 cup fresh tarragon, chopped
½ celery bunch, chopped
3 quarts fish stock
2 cups heavy cream
4 lobster claws
3⁄8 cup butter
3/8 cup flour
3/8 cup soybean oil
Serves 6 to 8
In a large pot on medium-high heat, saute lobster shells in soybean oil until completely red. Do not burn. Add onions, fennel and celery. Add tomato paste and stir. Deglaze with brandy and sherry. Add fish stock and tarragon. Heat until reduced by half.
While this is reducing, melt butter in a small saucepan and add flour to make a roux, then set aside. When soup has reduced by half, strain into a new pot, bring to a boil and add cream. Reduce heat and simmer; whisk in the roux. Cook on low heat for approximately 30 minutes. Lightly saute the lobster claw meat in butter for use as a garnish.
Serving suggestion: In the center of a bowl, place lobster claw meat on a puff pastry box or crostini and sprinkle with fresh tarragon. Pour the soup around this.
1 cup whole milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or chervil
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and the eggs. Slowly add the flour, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Pass the batter through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding any solids, then mix in the salt, melted butter and parsley (or chervil). Allow the batter to stand for 15 minutes.
Heat a nonstick crepe pan or a small saute pan on medium-low heat. Drizzle the oil on a paper towel, then quickly wipe the pan with it. Drop 2 tablespoons of the batter onto the pan, then tilt the pan so the batter coats the bottom. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the crepe has set and the edges start to brown. Using a large spatula, flip the crepe and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the cooked crepe to a warm plate and repeat with the remaining batter. You should end up with about 12 crepes.
Roll the crepes into individual logs like jelly rolls, then slice them into thin spirals.
Serving suggestion: Divide the crepe spirals among the warmed bowls, then garnish with green onions and enoki mushrooms. Ladle the hot consomme into heated bowls and serve.
Wild mushroom consomme with herbed crepes
1 whole chicken, bones and skin removed
2 large carrots
2 stalks celery
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
8 king oyster mushrooms
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked to rehydrate
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh parsley
5 egg whites
16 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Madeira wine
2 tablespoon sliced green onions, for garnish
1/2 cup enoki mushrooms, for garnish
Serves 10 – 12
In a food processor or using a mixer fitted with a grinder attachment, finely grind together the chicken, carrots, celery, ginger, oyster, shiitake mushrooms, thyme and parsley. Transfer the chicken mixture to a large bowl and add the egg whites, stirring until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes, until chilled. Place the chilled chicken mixture in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, then add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Heat on medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Once the chicken and vegetables float to the surface and begin to form a raft, stop stirring and allow it to form. The raft will clarify the stock and add flavor. Reduce the heat to low and allow the soup to simmer for 35 to 45 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce, but do not stir.
Pour the Madeira wine into a small pot. Place the pan on medium heat, stand away from the stove and use a barbecue lighter or a long fireplace match to light the fumes at the edge of the pan. Allow the flames to burn for two minutes. If necessary, cover with a lid to put out the flames. Add this flambeed wine to the soup, then lightly season the soup with salt and remove from the heat.
Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth and set it over a clean pot. Using a ladle, carefully spoon the broth from the pot into the cheesecloth-lined sieve. Don't agitate the raft too much, or the consomme will become cloudy. Discard the solids and set aside the consomme.
Apple and Brie soup
3 McIntosh apples, cored and sliced
8 ounces Brie, diced (rind removed)
1 medium onion, diced
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and saute until translucent. Toss apples lightly with onions until apples soften. Sprinkle flour into mixture and stir until well incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
While stirring, add chicken stock. Slowly, add heavy cream and Brie while continuously stirring. Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Adjust seasoning and serve warm.
Jennie Iverson lives in Vail and is the author of the "Ski Town Soups" cookbook. She provides insight into the culinary scene of ski towns across America. You can find more recipes and information at http://www.skitown soups.com.