Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Soups from Symon

Michael Symon is probably my favorite Iron Chef to watch, which is why it irritates me that he gets to compete so infrequently. I think his personality is a hoot, and he just looks as though he's having such fun out there.

Here are some hearty winter soups that hopped across my radar this a.m. from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board . Chef Symon's creations are always sophisticated twists on old favorites, and this collection is no different.

According to Mintel Menu Insights, sales of soup in the U.S. will reach an estimated $5.4 billion in 2008, a 26 percent increase since 2002.


Number of Servings: 4

2 shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt
12 ounces (about 5) carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste*
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tub (8 ounces) Wisconsin Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature*

Place shallots and garlic in olive oil in deep sauce pan, and lightly salt. Cover and cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes, covered, until limp but now brown. Add carrots and continue to cook, covered, for 10 minutes over medium low heat. Add curry paste and chicken stock and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
Remove soup from heat and pour into blender beaker or food processor bowl; blend until smooth. Return to heat and bring to simmer. Whisk in Mascarpone cheese. Serve immediately in soup bowls.


Number of Servings: 4
1/2 pound leeks
4 Vidalia onions, peeled, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, lightly salted
1 1/2 cups Amber Beer (Ale)
5 cups chicken stock
8 slices sourdough bread, dried, crispy thin, cut into crouton shape
3/4 cup (3 ounces) Wisconsin Pepato cheese, shaved
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Trim the leeks and cut off the leaves and save. Slice the leek bulbs and add to the sliced onions.In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the butter and wait until the butter foams and begins to turn nutty brown. Add the sliced onions and leeks. Cook over a high heat to brown the onions nicely. Add the beer and reduce by half. Add the stock and simmer 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Ladle half the soup, a little at a time, into blender and puree. Combine the pureed soup with the simmered soup.Cut the wild leek leaves into thin chiffonade and stir into the soup. Ladle into bowls, top with sour dough croutons and generously lay the shaved Pepato over the soup.


Number of Servings: 4

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, washed, diced
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk, warm
1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin Gouda cheese, shredded
White pepper, ground, to taste
5 drops hot sauce
1/2 cup ham, diced
1 tablespoon chives, minced
Over medium heat, in a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat butter until melted. Stir in onion and celery, cover. Cook 3 minutes or until translucent. Stir often to prevent browning. Stir in flour to thicken. Cook until it bubbles. Slowly stir in warm milk, mixing until thickened and smooth. Bring to a simmer (do not boil) and continue stirring. Reduce to very low heat and add Wisconsin Cheddar and Wisconsin Gouda cheeses, white pepper and hot sauce. Stir until well blended. Add ham and chives. Substitutions: Beer or non-alcoholic beer could be used instead of milk.