Category Archives: Soups and Salads

A Creamy Soup of Mushrooms and Buttered Snails

The first dish was a creamy soup of mushrooms and buttered snails, served in gilded bowls.

From A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

I always feel like it’s cheating to use GRRM for inspiration, because it requires approximately ten seconds of randomly opening one of his books and skimming no more than a paragraph. But here we are, so whatever.

I always have enjoyed escargot, and have occasionally attempted to include these tasty snails in a great number of dishes they may not usually appear in. Escargot/alfredo was a crowd pleaser. Escargot/garlic bread (or as I like to call it “escarlic bread”) was not a crowd pleaser, but remains one of my favourite drunk snacks.

I have yet to determine if A Creamy Soup of Mushrooms and Buttered Snails is a crowd pleaser, because as of yet, no crowd except me has been brave enough to eat it. All my friends are apparently babies about food. It is a ME  pleaser though. The escargot add their vaguely exotic seafoody deliciousness to a lovely creamy broth, and their velvety soft deliciousness to your face.

What you need!

One medium sized onion, chopped

Three cloves of garlic, chopped

About a cup of cooked cauliflower

Not very many mushrooms, chopped very small, because mushrooms are gross (if you like mushrooms I suppose you can add more). Another option is no mushrooms, because reasons (but you have to call it A Creamy Soup of Only Buttered Snails if you go for this option).

1/3 cup of butter

A whole lot of fresh basil, chopped

4 cups of beef broth OR chicken broth

½ cup milk OR cream

About half a cup of something alcoholic (white wine if you are using chicken stock, dark beer if you are using beef stock)

About a cup of grated cheddar cheese

One cup of escargot (approx 2 cans)

Salt and pepper to taste

What to Do!

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, and sautee the onions and garlic until the onion is almost clear. Add the basil and half of the mushrooms, and sautee for some more time until the onions are done.

Add the soup stock, beer/wine and cauliflower, bring to a boil. Drink the rest of the beer/wine because obviously. Reduce to a simmer. When soup is simmering, add cheddar cheese and milk and simmer some more until the cheese is melted.

Remove from heat and blend the soup in your blender or with a submersible blender. When it is creamy enough, put it back on the stove and add the remaining mushrooms and the escargot. Allow to simmer until the soup has reduced slightly. The more you let it reduce the creamier (and snailier) it will taste. This is the time when you can add your salt and pepper to taste as well.

Serve hot, or else it will get a weird skin on top of it (from the cheese). Serves about four I think, except that nobody wants to try it, so technically it has only served me four times.

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What to do with the Leftovers

What To Do with the Leftovers from Honeyed Chicken a la Winterfell (AKA the best soup in the universe)

For Honeyed Chicken see https://food4thoughtand4urface.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/honeyed-chicken-a-la-winterfell/

I am a firm believer in stretching food as far as it will go. This is a conviction that comes greatly from the fact that I am the poorest person in the world. My freezer is usually filled with the frozen carcasses of poultry I have roasted, awaiting the day that I am so strapped for cash that my only option for dinner is “Soup Made Out of Frozen Chicken Carcass and Whatever is Getting Dodgy in my Refrigerator”. It was a happy accident that led to this soups existence, when on such a day, I fished out the decimated remains of my previous weeks foray into Westerosi cuisine, noting that there was still some sauce and meat in the container. Culinary genious that I am, I invented the greatest soup ever, which accidentally was so totally gourmet that it more properly evokes the feeling of attending a feast in the Capitol of Panem than awaiting your imminently violent and premature death in the bleak frozen halls of George R.R. Martin’s North.

Ingredients

1 or 2 thoroughly picked over and decimated Honeyed Chicken carcasses (including any leftover sauce, carrots, berries etc.)

10 – 12 medium white potatoes, washed with skin on (you can peel them if you are the kind of baby that also does things like cut the crusts off your sandwich, but the skin has most of the vitamins and is getting blendered-to-fuck anyways so you should totally leave it on)

Fresh ginger to taste (peeled is actually a good call on this one though. I used about half a medium sized root)

1 large onion (also peeled)

Two cloves garlic, chopped

5 – 10 medium carrots

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 bay leef

Salt and pepper to taste (lots of salt makes for better broth and unhappy hearts, I used about a quarter cup)

Put potatoes, carrots, ginger, onion, garlic, rosemary and bay leaf in a large pot with leftover honeyed chicken and leftover sauce. Cover with water, and bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Reduce heat and let simmer for a very, very long time (I usually try and let my soup get all soupy for at least two hours… the longer you let it boil the better your broth will be). If it boils down too much (the water does not cover the potatoes anymore) than add some more water. If it lacks the pizzaz you are looking for you are allowed to add more salt. Soup is not an exact science guys… keep tweaking it until you are satisfied.

The hardest part of this soup is the next part. You have to separate the stuff you want to eat (almost everything) from the stuff that will get stuck in your throat and kill you (the tiny chicken bones). I use tongs to fish out the cooked potatoes, onion, ginger and carrots and put them in a large bowl to await further instructions, and than strain the broth into another pot, using a colander to catch the chickeny bits.
There is usually a good amount of meat left in the colander, along with the disgusting mass of animal cartilage. Because, as I mentioned, I like not-wasting food, I usually put the colander-full of chicken carcass in the freezer for fifteen minutes to cool it down, and than spend 20 minutes picking out all the remaining edible goodies to put back in the soup. Be sure to get the remaining dried fruit too, as it adds a certain je ne sais quois (which is French for ‘who the fuck knows’) to the finished soup.

When you have a bowl full of meats and berries, add them back into the broth, along with the potatoes carrots onion and ginger. Now the exciting bit.

If you are the kind of person who has a submersible blender, than you are the kind of person who is going to find the next step laughably easy and hassle free. If you are not that kind of person, this part suuuuuuucks.

You gotta blend this suckah till its smooth and creamy, which can be accomplished in about a minute of not-getting scalded or getting blended potato (which, incidentally bears a remarkable similarity to poster-glue when it cools down) everywhere in your kitchen, with the use of a submersible blender. Otherwise you have to ladle some broth and chunky bits into your stupid normal blender a couple of ladles-full at a time, which takes approximately eight thousand years, and if you are anything like me, results in the greatest kitchen disaster that your kitchen has ever experienced. Enjoy explaining the soup splatter on your ceiling to your landlords guys.

But trust me, this is so totally worth it. If your soup has, during the duration of your exploits become somewhat less hot than you would like, heat it up on the stove again for five or ten minutes. This is also based on a vichyssoise recipe, which means it is delicious cold as well. Should any survive the initial serving and end up in your fridge.

I generally make food in quantities best described as ‘a fuck-tonne’, and this one serves about 5 or 6 normal humans. Or it would, if it wasn’t so goddamn delicious, or if you and your roommates happen to be as ravenously barbarous as me and mine, which means it serves 4.

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