As the usual Christmas hubbub goes, it’s been a very… hearty, meaty and heavy weekend. So, inner vampire satisfied for the time being, I thought cooking up something along the vegetarian and light – yet comfy enough to fight off the bitter cold outside – lines would be the perfect thing to do to close off this fantastic kitchen-year.
When I first made the proto-version of this soup, loosely following a french recipe, I honestly doubted it would work. I absolutely love quinces, especially in savory dishes, when there’s something punchy to balance out with them. I had never even thought about quinces in a soup, creamy and vegetarian, no less. Sadly, it met my low expectations – the original version of it heavily relied on browned butter to boost the subtle flavors, and therefore couldn’t be found anywhere near my alley… But, quince’y potential spotted and zeroed in on, I whetted my veggie peelers and got to work! So, after I scrapped half of the ingredients, added new ones and pummeled it through several experiments and adjustments, this one has established itself as a “repeat-offender” in the warming-and comforting-us business since then.
The Quince Soup
1 large, waxy potato, peeled and diced into ½ cm cubes
200g Chanterelle Mushrooms
1 Tbsp Butter
500ml Herbed Vegetable Stock
1 large white Onion, coarsely chopped
400g Quinces, peeled, cored and finely diced
100ml light Cooking Cream
1 Tbsp Rosé Balsamic Vinegar or Cider Vinegar
3 Sprigs of Parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
1) Set a large pot onto high heat.
2) Add the stock, diced onions and quinces to it and bring it up to a rapid boil.
3) As soon as the stock is merrily bubbling, turn the heat down to medium-low and leave the lot to simmer for 15 mins.
4) Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan set on medium heat.
5) Add the potato cubes and fry them, constantly tipping them over to the next side, for 10-15 mins until they’re beautifully golden on all sides and tender beneath their crispy exterior.
6) Season the potato cubes with salt, pepper and nutmeg while they’re still in the pan, at around the 10 min mark.
7) Gently scoop the cubes out of the pan with a slotted spoon – keep the seasoned butter inside the pan, it’ll be used for the mushrooms in a minute – and tip them onto paper towels to drip off excess butter while you’re finishing off the mushrooms.
8) Add your chanterelles to the pan, still sitting on medium heat, lightly season them with salt and pepper, and leave them to brown for 5 mins – flip them over from time to time to get some color on all sides and make sure they soften up evenly.
9) Once they’re tender, add the potatoes and the chopped parsley to the mix, give the pan a hearty flip to distribute the new additions evenly, and set the pan aside.
10) Move the contents of your soup-pot into a blender or a stick-blender friendly container and have at it, whizzing the soup until it’s smooth.
11) Pour it back into its pot, set the heat to low – just to heat it through again – and stir in the cream.
12) Add the vinegar, and stir until it’s well incorporated into the soup.
13) Have a taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, nutmeg and more vinegar if necessary. Make sure to have a potato cube or a mushroom with that spoonful, otherwise you might be tempted to overseason – the soup alone is on the mellow side of things, the magic happens when you combine the two components~
If the quinces you’ve used weren’t perfectly ripe, the soup might turn from slightly zingy to “too sour”, a teaspoonful or two of honey is the perfect way to remedy that.
14) Leave the soup to heat through on low heat for 5 mins.
15) Pour it into warm bowls, top them off with the potato & shroom mix, scatter the servings with a few green dots of parsley, lean back and…
And that’s it! The last midweek-special… for this year~! Let’s give 2016 a proper farewell and welcome 2017 with a celebration worthy of all the good things to come~! A happy, healthy, lucky and, of course, tasty new year to all of you ♥