Saturday, October 29, 2011

Go Ahead, Play with Your Food



Roasted Garlic-Chayote Bisque and Red Pepper Bisque

Note:  The Rachael Ray Show just filmed an episode here in San Miguel de Allende.  Look at the clip called Rachael's Surprise for some beautiful shots of my home, San Miguel!



Go Ahead, Play with Your Food!
by Victoria Challancin

No matter what you mother told you, play with your food!  Just do it!  Or that's what I think every time I make a two-toned soup.  It is so gratifying to pour, and even more gratifying to eat.  And there are so many variations--below I will give you two that I recently made.

Two-toned soups are fun and easy to make.  Any time I have ever made these in class, I have discovered three things:  everyone is afraid to attempt the simultaneous pour, everyone is amazed at how simple it is in the end, and everyone is dazzled by the beautiful results.  And the variations are endless; pureed black and white beans are stunning, multicolored bell peppers magical, root vegetables practically scream to join the fray, winter squashes pair well with white beans or turnips, and potatoes set off just about any other colorful vegetable.  Just remember to keep the consistencies of the two soups approximately the same to facilitate ease of pouring.  And most of these cream or at least creamy soups are equally delicious served cold as well as hot.

The first of these soups was born out of a request in a private cooking classes I did with some fun and creative friends.  They specifically asked me to come up with a chayote-based soup, which I did.  Then I thought to pair it with a red pepper bisque to give them the opportunity to learn something new and fun.

Because chayote is naturally bland, I added a good bit of roasted garlic to give it some umph.  I used the Mexican technique of simply roasting garlic cloves in their husks on a comal or in a dry skillet.  Of course, the Italian technique of oven-roasting in foil with a drizzle of olive oil would work equally well.  For color I chose fresh basil, though cilantro or parsley would work according to your preferences and your menu.  Chicken broth was the base, but again, do what works for you--vegetable broth would also  be fine.

I paired the light green chayote soup with a red pepper bisque I made recently in a class for Mexican cooks as a part of another two-toned soup recipe.  The colors were stunning.


Jackie, pouring roasted garlic-chayote bisque and red pepper bisque

Jackie, still creating...see how simple it would be to tweak this a bit and have a Yin/Yang symbol?

Roasted Garlic-Chayote Bisque and Red Pepper Bisque
(Recipe by Victoria Challancin)
Serves 8.
For the Chayote Soup:
6 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 cups chicken broth, plus extra to thin soup if needed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper,to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the Pepper Soup: (this part comes from epicurious.com)
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 red bell peppers, roasted and roughly chopped (about 6 cups)
3 cups chicken broth, plus extra to thin soup if needed
1/4 cup heavy cream
Fresh lemon juice to taste

Make the chayote soup:
Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a small skillet.  Roast over medium heat until slightly charred and 
soft, turning frequently.  Once cool enough to handle, peel, and set aside.

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion.  Sauté until soft, about 5 
minutes.  Add peeled roasted garlic, chayote, and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat, 
and simmer for 20 minutes, or until squash is tender. Allow to cool slightly, add basil, and puree (in 
blender in batches or with an immersion blender directly in the saucepan).  Return soup to the 
saucepan if using the blender method to puree, and add cream.  Mix well and check for seasoning 
and thickness, adding a bit more broth if necessary.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Make the pepper soup:  In a heavy saucepan cook the shallot, the thyme, and salt and pepper to 
taste in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the shallot is soft, add the bell peppers and 
1 1/2 cups of the broth, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the peppers 
are very soft.  Purée in blender and force through a sieve, if desired.  Whisk in the cream, enough of 
the additional broth to reach the desired consistency, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  
The soup can be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.

When ready to serve:  Pour hot soup into two 2-cup glass measuring cups.  Pour simultaneously 
into individual bowls, adjusting the flow and shape of the two colors of soups as you go.  Garnish 
with a drizzle of cream and more chopped basil, if desired.





Another pair of delicious soups:  Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup and Roasted Tomato Soup
with Serrano Cream from epicurious.com


Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup and Roasted Tomato Soup
with Serrano Cream
Serves 6.

                        For the Pepper Soup:
                                    3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
                                    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
                                    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
                                    6 yellow bell peppers, roasted and chopped coarse
                                                (about 6 cups)
                                   2 cups chicken broth plus extra to thin soup
                                    1/4 cup heavy cream
                                    Fresh lemon juice to taste

                        For the Tomato Soup:
3 pounds plum tomatoes, roasted
3 unpeeled large garlic cloves, roasted
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups chicken broth plus extra to thin soup
1/4 cup heavy cream
Fresh lemon juice to taste

            For the Serrano Cream:
3 fresh Serrano chiles or jalapeños, seeded and chopped fine
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste                                                            with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream

Make the pepper soup:  In a heavy saucepan cook the shallot, the thyme, and salt and pepper to 
taste in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the shallot is soft, add the bell peppers and 
1 1/2 cups of the broth, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the peppers
are very soft.  Purée in blender and force through a sieve.  Whisk in the cream, enough of the 
additional broth to reach the desired consistency, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  
The soup may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.

Make the tomato soup:  In a heavy saucepan cook the shallot, the oregano, salt and pepper to 
taste in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the shallot is soft.  Add the tomatoes and 
peeled garlic, and 1 1/2 cups broth and simmered the mixture, covered, for 15 minutes.  Purée in 
blender, forcing through a sieve.  Whisk in the cream, additional broth if necessary,  the lemon juice,
and salt and pepper to taste.  The soup may be made 1 day in  advance, kept  covered and chilled.

Make the serrano cream:  In a blender purée the chiles, the garlic paste, and the sour cream until 
well-combined.  Do not overblend.  Force through a fine sieve, cover, and chill.  Bring to room 
temperature before serving (if serving the soup hot).

Enjoy!

Note:  I am submitting the second of these recipes to the "non-event" Magazine Mondays, hosted by Ivonne on her terrific blog, Cream Puffs in Venice.  Check it out!

My home, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.







11 comments:

Hotly Spiced said...

Hi Victoria, great looking soups. That two-toned effect certainly adds great presentation. Thanks for visiting my blog. Recently my site has been upgraded and with that of course comes some challenges so I certainly used to have a 'subscribe by email' option. I'll try to have that option back on my blog by the end of today. I've subscribed to your blog - great to have contact with someone in Mexico. Your city looks very beautiful.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

San Miguel looks beautiful Victoria! And the idea of this soup is great, makes it so much fun! :D

Nava.K said...

Nice soup and its sure you have done a great recipe. Btw, I was also admiring the pic of your house.

FOODalogue said...

Aha, so that's how it's done! Very nice recipe on both sides.

Gourmet Getaways said...

What a great site! I have just food it, the soup looks so effective and delicious and I loved your story on the day of the dead!

Lynne said...

Terrific soup, Victoria! The Serrano cream gives it a nice hit of heat which I would love!

Lynne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
creampuff said...

Oh I just love that! The presentation is gorgeous and I want to dip my spoon right in!

Anonymous said...

Victoria - you didn't put in the quantity of chayote in the soup. -Nancy

Victoria of Flavors of the Sun said...

Yikes! I'm sorry about that. I roasted3medium chayote a with olive oil and s&p.

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