Saturday, April 24, 2010

Food Friday…Cream of Sorrel Soup

sorrel 116

Something wonderful happens when friends gather to cook.    Together we become more than the sum of our parts. We dream (Food Friday goes to France) we plan (Cable TV show?!) we share.   We eat and talk and mostly we have fun and when I leave a food Friday I’m invincible.  My friends have convinced me.

Food is love and that is never more apparent than on Food Friday.

We’ve changed our focus a bit.  Food Friday has become a culinary classroom.  We’re using Mastering the Art of French Cooking as our text and have recently mastered poached eggs (fresh is best) and  pastry shells (keep it cold).  This week we tackled soufflés and soup and each week we challenge ourselves to try something new…Like sorrel.

Sorrel.  I’ve heard of it…had a vague notion that it’s green and…that’s about it.  I briefly pondered how an entire greens family could have escaped my notice for so long.  Rebecca from Persephone Farms convinced me I had to try it so I dutifully bought some and came home to flip through cookbooks.  I nibbled the end of a leaf and wow...the flavors are bright and tart but what really surprised me is that I know this flavor.  It’s unique and powerful and earned a place in my taste memory when I was a kid.  We called it “sourgrass” and it grows wild all over the place. 

I did a little research and it turns out, the sourgrass of my childhood is sheep sorrel and can be used in soups, salads and tarts, just like the culinary sorrel you can buy at the Bainbridge Island Farmer’s Market right now!

Larry from the Suquamish farmer’s market  (Wednesday from 3-6)sold me a plant and the idea of sorrel soup.  He used to run the cafe at Bainbridge Gardens and makes the best gazpacho I’ve ever tasted to I took his advice.  Many of his recipes originate with Julia so I went to our text.

Ms. Child’s says “This is a lovely soup, and a perfect one for an important dinner.”  I love that, the whole idea of entertaining “important” people at home. 

This soup is indeed elegant and charming.  It’s rich with bright flavor, smoothed out with some fresh cream.   Elaine our expert on all things French just closed her eyes and sighed,  “I’ve been waiting for this.”

We all had seconds.

Potage Crème d’Oseille

From: Mastering the Art of French Cooking

1/3 cup minced green or yellow onions

3 tablespoons butter

3-4 packed cups of fresh Sorrel leaves and tender stems washed, dried in a towel and cut into chiffonade (thin slices or shreds).

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons of flour

5 1/2 cup boiling chicken stock

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup whipping cream

1-2 tablespoons softened butter


Cook the onions slowly in butter in a covered saucepan for 5-10 minutes, until tender and translucent but not browned.

Stir in sorrel and salt, cover, cook slowly for about five minutes or until the leaves are tender and wilted.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir over moderate heat for 3 minutes.

Off heat, beat the boiling stock.  Simmer for five minutes.

Blend the yolks and cream in a mixing bowl.  Beat a cupful of hot soup into them by dribbles.  Gradually beat in the rest of the soup in a thick stream.  Return soup to a saucepan an stir over moderate heat for a minute or two to poach the eggs yolk. but do not bring the soup to the simmer.  Off heat stir  in the enrichment butter a tablespoon at a time.

Pour the soup in a tureen or soup cups and decorate with optional sorrel leaves.

No comments: