Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Creme de Pissenlits, or Bridey Soup

Bridey, Erin, S and I filled our bike baskets with greens from the edge of the canal, never picking more than one third of the leaves from a plant, per Bridey's foraging ethics.

Creme de Pissenlits(Cream of Dandelion Soup)
Modified from Madeleine Kamman's When French Women Cook (Ten Speed Press, 2002) to be made without blenders or strainers, and on a boat that had lots of carrots.
2 lbs. dandelion greens, trimmed, and washed
8 tbsp. butter
1 cup rich chicken stock
1 large onion, peeled and diced
3 small carrots, peeled, trimmed, and chopped
¼ cup flour
4 cups milk, hot
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 strips bacon, chopped and cooked crispily
Butter soaked, garlicky herbed croutons for garnish.

1. If using young dandelion greens, chop them and set aside. If using older, tougher greens, blanch them in a pot of boiling salted water, then cool them in a bowl of ice water. Drain them, squeezing out excess moisture, chop, and set aside.
2. Melt 4 tbsp. of the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add dandelion greens and cook, stirring often, until moisture has evaporated, 15-20 minutes. Add stock and simmer, stirring often, until it has almost completely evaporated, about 15 minutes.
3. Melt remaining butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and cook until onions are translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and gradually whisk in hot milk. Return pan to medium-low heat and cook sauce, stirring constantly, until thick, 25-30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Combine cream and mustard, then stir into soup. Heat soup over medium-low heat until hot (do not let soup boil; it will curdle). Crumble bacon into soup and adjust seasonings. Serve soup garnished with garlicky croutons.

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