Friday, January 24, 2014
6 soup recipes for chilly weather
Or, rather, five soups and a bonus curry.
The inherent comfort that a hot bowl of soup brings to the table – both in a literal and figurative sense – can be an unparalleled bit of relief when the cold chooses to make its bitter presence known. Hot, hearty and restorative, there’s something in particular about the combination of broth and bites that no hot sandwich, no simple cup of coffee and no other style of meal can replicate.
The cold has come. We choose to stand and fight it with these five soups (and a bonus curry) from chefs and restaurants around Dallas. We’re taking a page from the pros to keep warm. We recommend you save the recipes and do the same.
The French Onion Soup from Lavendou – Recipe
Pascal Cayet certainly reaps some benefits from owning one of the area’s more esteemed French restaurants – his inviting and convivial personality fits the job like a glove as he meanders from table to table greeting guests old and new with equal enthusiasm. And of course there’s the rich and luxurious desserts that Lavendou has to offer, and the wine list has plenty of good French options to enjoy.
But there’s a little bowl – a peasant dish that Cayet prefers to any other of its kind, even in his native France. It’s his French Onion Soup, and it’s a simple dish of onions, chicken stock, cheese and some seasonings that combine to make one of the world’s classic comfort foods. Rich with a deep and complex taste, Cayet’s recipe is one for all occasions, whether it’s a formal meal meant to impress guests or one meant merely to impress your own tastebuds. And we’ll happily add that two of these soups – the Mushroom and Everleigh’s Vegetable – will be represented at this year’s Soup’s On! event benefiting the Stewpot Alliance.
Belly & Trumpet’s Caldo Verde (Chef Brian Zenner) – Recipe
While its origins and ingredients may be humble, it’s their assembly together and the deep, righ flavors they create that ultimately make Caldo Verde such a special dish. And when you’ve got the recipe that Chef Brian Zenner uses at Belly and Trumpet, you can be confident that from the first sip to the last, this comforting, classic soup is going to be a truly enjoyable experience.
The Grape’s Mushroom Soup – Recipe
At The Grape Restaurant on Lower Greenville, the Mushroom soup has become an icon. Hot, hearty and comforting, the dish has been a staple at The Grape for more than three decades, and is still made according to the original recipe.
“Every single new chef that has come into the Grape has been compelled to ‘fine tune’ the recipe,” says The Grape’s chef/owner Brian Luscher. “But like the siren’s song leading captains and their ships to certain demise, our guests let the chef’s know, ‘There’s something wrong with the soup! The soup isn’t the same.’ Even though the new formulation is very good, maybe even ‘better,’ it’s just not the same. They always return to the original recipe.”
Luscher estimates that a cup of this soup sold for $0.35 when it was first introduced. Today, it’s a little bit more, but with this recipe you can feel free to stock up at home – as Luscher observes, this freezes well, so making enough for 16 servings is simply good planning.
Smoked Sausage Gumbo from Lockhart Smokehouse’s Will Fleischman – Recipe
It’s no surprise that Will Fleischman knows smoked meats – after all, the bearded barbecue maestro does serve as pitmaster of Lockhart Smokehouse in Bishop Arts. Neither should it come as a shock that he has learned how to incorporate those barbecued meats into dishes of different design; smoked brisket potato salad has been a staple of the Lockhart menu, while various hot sides (brisket hominy, anyone?) also make regular appearances.
But gumbo? Absolutely. When we saw a photo of what Fleischman could conjure with a little roux, shrimp, okra and smoked sausage (along with some other key ingredients) we begged the recipe from him. What we got is a new go-to gumbo recipe, and with Lockhart’s smoked sausage from Kreuz Market, this traditional Louisiana dish gets a Texas flavor all its own.
Thai Green Curry from Bambu – Recipe
“Thai curries are a more focused on the hotness – the peppers – than Indian curries, which have a lot of spices like cumin, a lot of tumeric and coriander. So the Thai curry is a little more subtle with the spices, but it’s got more of the peppers’ heat,” says Nan. And Thai curries have a different texture, as well – they’re more liquid, whereas Indian curries are often very thick.”
The Thai Green Curry at Bambu does have curry paste incorporated, and Nan recommends buying the paste pre-made at an Asian grocery store – either Mae Sri or Mae Ploy brand – as fresh kaffir limes are extremely difficult to find (Nanthapak has a kaffir lime tree in her backyard that she uses). With the curry premade, the dish is in fact quite easy to make, and eating it a rewarding venture into Bambu’s Esan-regional Thai cuisine.
Everleigh’s Vegetable Soup from Cafe Pacific’s Chad Kelly – Recipe
Chad Kelly is no stranger to the discerning palate. As Chef of Cafe Pacific in Highland Park Village, he is accustomed to serving customers whose expectations are set to the high level that the restaurant’s reputation commands. But it is an even more estimable audience that approved the soup he will be serving at this year’s Soup’s On! That soup was approved by a particularly picky palate, indeed.
“One day I took some of this soup home to my one-year-old daughter, mixed in some rice and she absolutely loved it,” he says with a smile. “Now I make this hearty version for her at least once a week.”
Kelly’s take on vegetable soup – named after his daughter, of course – is a warm and heartening version that is not only accessible to the home cook, but versatile as well.
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