RECIPE TITLE "Joël Robuchon's Creamy White Bean Soup (Créme de Cocos Blancs Joël Robuchon) "
recipe excerpted from The Paris Cookbook Copyright © by Patricia Wells.
... more great recipes from Patricia Wells on our GREAT CHEFS page!
12 Demitasse Servings ---
easy to moderate
During the last years of his chiefdom on the rue de Longchamp, Joël Robuchon served this rich, soul-warming white bean cream as part of his all-truffle menu. With a faintly smoky flavor and that creamy richness of good white beans, this should be served in small portions. I like to serve it as a small first course, which can be drunk from a simple white demitasse cup. The soup can be anointed with finely minced truffles or with a drizzling of hazelnut oil. I only recently learned that fresh white beans, such as the French cocos blancs, which can be found from May to September, can easily be frozen. So when you find the beans in your farmers' market, freeze them for one of those cool winter days when bean soup is all that will do!
2 pounds fresh small white (navy) beans or red (cranberry) beans in the pod, shelled; or 1 pound dried small white beans (such as cannellini, Great Northern, or marrow beans), soaked (see Note) carrots, peeled and halved
1 onion, peeled and stuck with a clove
4 cloves garlic: 3 peeled, 1 very finely minced
1 bouquet garni: several sprigs of parsley and thyme, and several bay leaves, tied together with cotton string
3 ounces smoked bacon, in one piece
2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock (page 297)
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Freshly ground white pepper
1 small fresh black truffle (about 1 ounce), cleaned and minced (optional); or several teaspoons best-quality hazelnut or pistachio oil(optional)
Equipment: A 6-quart stockpot; a food processor; a food mill; 12 demitasse cups or other very small bowls.
1. In a 6-quart stockpot, combine the fresh or soaked dried beans with the carrots, onion, garlic cloves, bouquet garni, bacon, and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and cover the pot. Simmer gently over low heat until the beans are very tender, about 30 minutes for fresh beans, 1 to 1 1/2 hours for dried beans. (The cooking time will vary according to the freshness of the beans.) Add additional stock or water if necessary.
2. Drain the beans. Remove and discard the carrot, onion, garlic, bouquet garni, and bacon. Transfer the beans to a food processor and purée. Pass the purée through the finest grid of a food mill. (The soup can be prepared ahead of time up to this point. Cool and refrigerate.)
3. At serving time, reheat the purée. Add the chicken stock and cream, stir to blend, and bring just to a simmer. Stir in the butter and the minced garlic. Add sea salt and white pepper to taste. Serve piping hot, in very small warmed soup bowls or in demitasse cups. Sprinkle with minced truffles or drizzle with hazelnut oil, if desired.
NOTE: To prepare dried beans, rinse them, picking them over to remove any pebbles. Place the beans in a large saucepan. Cover with boiling water by 2 inches. Cover and let stand until the beans swell to at least twice their size and have absorbed most of the liquid, about 1 hour. Drain the beans in a colander, discarding the soaking liquid. Proceed with the recipe.
This is delicious with a floral white, such as a Condrieu or a Viognier from Domaine les Gouberts.
The Paris Cookbook. Copyright © by Patricia Wells.
|Vegetable Harvest: Vegetables at the Center of the Plate
To dispense with a puzzlement right away--though named Vegetable Harvest, Patricia Wells's marvelous 190-plus recipe collection doesn't center on those edibles exclusively. Rather, it offers a well-rounded dish selection that puts them to brilliant use, often as supporting players (except, of course, in chapters titled "Vegetables" and "Potatoes"). This bit of culinary license shouldn't discourage anyone from buying the book, whose recipes, such as Baby Squid Salad with Garlic, Olives, Tomatoes and Parsley; Penne with Fava Beans, Basil Puree, and Parmesan; and Lamb Couscous with Chickpeas and Zucchini, exemplify all that's remarkable about Wells's approach to modern French cooking. Emphasizing simplicity, ingredient freshness and, yes, ease of preparation, the dishes--including breads and desserts like Lemon and Rosemary Flatbread and Almond Buttermilk Sorbet--will delight any cook who prizes direct yet brilliantly orchestrated flavor. In addition to wine advice, Wells also offers a pantry chapter including sauce and vinaigrette recipes--Creamy Lemon-Chive Dressing is one--nearly worth owning the book for. In works including The Provence Cookbook and Bistro Cooking, Wells brought French cooking to the American kitchen in a way both authentic and relaxed. Vegetable Harvest furthers that approach spectacularly. --Arthur Boehm Click here to buy
How can a good cook become a great cook? It's all in the detailsBecoming a Good Cook Means Learning Principles that Will Last
You a Lifetime in the Kitchen; With Simply French,
You Will Never Cook The Same Way Again.
# Knowing when to season and how
# Appreciating the simple process of reducing a sauce
# Allowing meats and poultry to rest so they release maximum flavor
# The simple art of straining a sauce for a refined condensed flavor
# Knowing why dried herbs are no substitute for fresh
In Simply French acclaimed food critic and best-selling author of Trattoria Patricia Wells works side by side with award-winning French chef Joel Robuchon to distill the best of the French table for the American cook. Among the 125 exciting recipes youll find in Simply French are Potatoes "Chanteduc," a perfect Roast Chicken, Beef Tenderloin Roasted in Herb-Infused Salt Crust, Marbleized Chocolate Wafers, and Cinnamon-Chocolate Mousse.Click here to buy
In this warm look into the world of French bistro food, eminent food writer Patricia Wells reveals her love for this simple, robust cuisine in a collection of recipes garnered from France's best bistros. From Warm Potato Salad with Herbed Vinaigrette to Lamb Stew in White Wine to Pear Clafoutis, Wells admits her preference for hearty, homey bistro dishes. Through clearly written recipes, Wells encourages cooks to buy the best ingredients and turn them into fragrant, warming dishes. Each recipe has a note telling where it came from and alluding to its flavor. Pithy quotes throughout the book relate to bistro style--in cooking, serving, and eating--and historical quotations give a cultural connotation. Wine choices reach deep into the heart of France, from a crisp white from Provence such as a Chateau Simone with lamb, to a good Côtes du Rhone (Cru du Coudelet) with guinea hen. From the introduction to the last dessert recipe (for Prunes in Red Wine), Bistro Cooking is sure to please not just the novice in the kitchen, but the experienced cook as well. --Susan Loomis, Amazon.co.uk Click here to buy
|The Paris Cookbook
American-born Paris dweller Patricia Wells has turned her love of French food into a remarkable series of culinary works. The Paris Cookbook reflects that affection and her familiarity with the Paris food scene, offering 150 of its best recipes. From famed chef Joël Robuchon's sublime Creamy White Bean Soup to a hearty flank steak dish courtesy of Wells's butcher; from bistro Chez Benoit's Asparagus and Green Bean Salad to confectioner La Maison du Chocolate's Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse, the book abounds in wonderful food. Wells's achievement, here as elsewhere, is to make her recipes genuinely accessible to the average cook; well-chosen and lucidly written, they invite even the hesitant into the kitchen with the promise of great eating.
Following the courses of a typical Parisian meal, from appetizers through desserts, the book presents three-star dishes like Arpège Eggs with Maple Syrup, as well as more humble fare, including an exemplary Lemon Chicken and socca, the delicious Provençale pancakes. A section on pasta, rice, beans, and grains offers such standouts as Flora's Polenta Fries. Desserts also receive their due with delights like Fresh Fig and Almond Gratin. Illustrated with photos that evoke Parisian life at the market and at the table, and containing a wealth of tips and helpful information, wine recommendations, plus the addresses of the dining spots mentioned, the book is a worthy addition to Wells's dependable store of cooking guides. --Arthur Boehm Click here to buy
|The Provence Cookbook
In books including The Paris Cookbook and Bistro Cooking Patricia Wells offered personal takes on delicious French fare. The Provence Cookbook finds Wells, a resident of the region, evoking the terroir in over 200 recipes culled form chefs, home cooks, farmers, and more. Like her other collections, Provence yields easy but elegant fare--modern, light-on-their-feet dishes like Six-Minute Cod Braised in Spicy Tomato Sauce and Francks's Roasted Duck Breasts with Green Olives. While the recipes are truly French (with an occasional cross-cultural contribution), Wells has done her usual trick of translating them for relaxed American cooking; she's also provided enticing vignettes on local markets; on ingredients, like the nutty camargue rice; and on other culinary suppliers such as Hervé Poron, "The Truffle King." In themselves, the listings make a useful guide.
In addition to the expected categories, the large recipe range includes breads, pasta, and egg and cheese dishes, such as Quick Polenta Bread with Rosemary, Linguini with Saffron, and Baked Arugula Omelet. Desserts are hardly neglected, and include evocative specialties like Fresh Fig and Homemade Apricot Jam Tart, Three Pear Cake, and Individual Cherry-Hazelnut Gratins. Tips like "On Peeling Tomatoes," menus, and photos further distinguish a book that will delight both Wells's fans and those fortunate to discover her culinary France. --Arthur Boehm Click here to buy