Friday, September 13, 2013

Ginger-Carrot Vichyssoise

Ginger-Carrot Vichyssoise Recipe

I  love when other's share their list of favorite cookbooks and earlier this year when Louisa Shafia was promoting her new cookbook, The New Persian Kitchen, she did just that {on 101cookbooks}.

First on her list was The Frog Commissary Cookbook. Curious, I did a little research and learned that the cookbook was published in 1985, authored by a team of chefs who run a popular Philadelphia catering company and back then two legendary eateries, Frog and The Commissary. I decided to order the cookbook online, site unseen {which I never do}. When it arrived I anxiously flipped through it and upon seeing the unique ingredient lists and charming illustrations in the margins, I was instantly reminded of the Silver Palate cookbooks. But the recipes in the Frog Commissary cookbook are much more broad - American and Western European cuisines are represented, yet so are the flavors of India, Asia and the Middle East. 

I wonder if, like the Silver Palate cookbooks, TFCC  was a "must have" in the 1980's? Despite my proximity to Philadelphia {I grew up in Pittsburgh} my mother never owned a copy and when I asked her about it recently, she confirmed that she was unfamiliar with it. Nor was I until this past spring, even after years and years of collecting recipes and cookbooks. New discoveries, albeit decades later, can be quite fun.

After months of leafing through my new discovery and tagging all the recipes I want to try, I vowed this week to take the plunge. First up is ginger-carrot vichyssoise. The TFC chefs have given classic vichyssoise a new twist with the addition of ginger and carrots. I then tinkered with their recipe, ever-so-slightly, to create a vegetarian, lower fat version:  chicken stock gives way to vegetable stock and 1/2 and 1/2 gives way to whole milk. The result is a creamy soup that is not too heavy, with a mild and interesting flavor profile. It's a perfect lunch for mid- September, teetering between the lighter fare we've been enjoying all summer and the comfort foods we look forward to embracing this fall. Enjoy the soup piping hot with a garnish of chives {as we did} or serve it cold. 

Ginger-Carrot Vichyssoise

2 T butter
2 large leeks, thinly sliced  {white parts only}
1/4 c chopped onions
3/4 lb carrots, peeled and thinly chopped
2 t + 1/2 t minced fresh ginger
1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
1 c + 1/2 c vegetable stock
3 c whole milk
minced fresh chives {optional}

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Add the carrots, ginger and potatoes and saute, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. 
Add the salt, pepper and vegetable stock. Cover and simmer until vegetables are soft and can be mashed with a fork, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and puree completely. Cool. Whisk in 2 c + 1/2 c milk. Check the consistency and add the remaining 1/2 c milk to thin the soup more if need be.

Garnish with chives and serve cold or hot. 

Serves 4.
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Source: Adapted from The Frog Commissary Cookbook

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