Friday, April 23, 2010

"From the Earth to the Table" - "Five Lilies" (Onion) Chowder

Date I made this recipe: April 22, 2010 (Earth Day)

From the Earth to the Table – John Ash’s Wine Country Cuisine by John Ash with Sid Goldstein (winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals Book of the Year – The Julia Child Cookbook Awards)
Published by: Penguin Books
ISBN: 0-525-94000-6
Recipe: “Five Lilies” Chowder – p. 62

Fear not Earth Day Aficionados! Despite the name, no actual lilies were harmed in the making of this recipe! (Can you imagine? Ew!!)

Many people do not know that onions, leeks, shallots, garlic and chives are part of the lily family. And all five of these items are in this soup which turned out to be incredibly tasty even if the name was suspect.

Since today is Earth Day, I yanked out this book, appropriately titled “From the Earth to the Table” that had been tucked away in the far recesses of my collection. A friend gave it to me a while ago and I have to say that awards or no, the recipes in this book didn’t quite send me flying. (Thus the “tucked away” comment) Some took a long time and had too many steps and dare I say that although not required, a vegetarian dish seemed in order for an Earth Day celebration and I just didn’t grove on the ones in this book.

But not to be outdone by a cookbook, I looked again and decided on the soup. I do feel the name “chowder,” though, is misleading as “chowder” usually means that milk or cream are added and neither of those two ingredients was present.

The author suggested adding wild rice and/or vegetables to this dish to make it a more substantial meal and I added both. The wild rice was good but seemed heavy in this dish. On the other hand, the peas I added seemed just right.

So happy post-Earth Day fellow earthlings!

“Five-Lilies” Chowder – serves 8
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups diced yellow onions
¼ cup sliced shallots
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
6 cups mushroom stock (p. 57) or rich chicken stock, fat removed (I used Swanson’s and it was fine)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
½ cup minced celery
1 cup sliced leeks, both white and tender green parts
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons minced chives
Garnish: Gremolata (1 tablespoon minced garlic, 2 tablespoons minced parsley, and 2 tablespoons minced lemon zest, combined in a bowl)
(Optional) cooked wild rice
(Optional) cooked vegetables (I used peas)

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, shallots, and garlic and sauté until they just begin to color. Transfer half the onion mixture to a blender or food processor. Puree and return to the pan. Add the wine, bay leaf and stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. The soup base may be prepared in advance to this point and stored and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen indefinitely and reheated before finishing.

Just before serving, add the thyme, oregano, celery, leeks, and sherry to the hot soup base. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes. Do not overcook; the vegetables should retain their crunchy texture. Remove the bay leaf, stir in the chives, and garnish with a sprinkling of the gremolata.

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