Soupe Aux Lentilles
It sure has been a while since I posted a Bouchon recipe. With my new hectic schedule, I rarely have time to cook, let alone to follow Keller’s often intricate recipes. Nevertheless, I recently made his springy lentil soup on a mild and breezy night. The soup itself was not complicated to make but preparing each garnish separately was quite time-consuming. While I appreciate his preciseness, following his instructions closely is a large part of the challenge.
I enjoy reading how Keller breaks down his fundamental techniques. These elemental steps may seem tedious but bear in mind that they are useful towards many other applications. In this first installment, I’ll explain two techniques: how to peel and cook pearl onions and how to prepare a bouquet garni or sachet. In the next post, I’ll describe how the whole dish comes together.
Red, white, or yellow pearl onions
Red wine vinegar for red onions
Champagne vinegar for white onions
Cut an X on the root ends of the onions. Boil the onions until the skins soften, then peel, drain, and trim the roots.
Separate the two colours. Cover the onions with 1 inch of cold water seasoned with the bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme, and salt. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the onions are soft when pierced with a knife.
Drain away all but a tbs of water, then stir in the respective vinegars according to colour.
Dark outer leek leaves
Italian parsley sprigs
Garlic Cloves (for lentil soup sachet only)
An aromatic sachet is required to perfume the lentil soup. To create this, wrap the ingredients up in cheese cloth with kitchen twine. The basic sachet does not contain leek leaves but I decided to utilize the leaves leftover from making the soup.
A bouquet garni (boo-kay-gar-nee) is used to flavor foods that will later be strained. To make a bouquet garni, wrap all the ingredients up in the leek leaves and bind securely with kitchen twine.