Saturday, November 3, 2012

Potage Mulligatawny

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Okay everyone, this one is quite an undertaking – but it also happens to be one of the most delicious soups I’ve ever tasted. Potage Mulligatawny is a thick, hearty offspring of Indian and British influences. It’s got a delicious curry base and comes loaded with rice, diced apple, and a garnish of poached chicken breast and crispy bacon lardons for a symphony of flavors that must be experienced to be believed. But make no mistake – this is literally one of the most labor intensive dishes I’ve ever prepared. It employs multiple cooking techniques and loads of ingredients, so be prepared to set aside the better part of your day to make it. Even so, I can not recommend it enough, and once you taste it, you’ll be a believer as well.

Difficulty: Tough
Active Prep Time: 2 - 3 hours
Total Prep Time: 2 – 3 hours
Special Equipment: Fine mesh strainer (chinois)
Serves: 6 – 8

Curry Stock Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken wings
  • 6 - 7 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1½ onions, diced
  • 1½ stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Apple peelings
  • 1 bouquet garni
    • 1 - 2 Parsley Stems
    • 1 sprigs of thyme
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 thin piece of celery
    • Wrapped in leek green

Garnish Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 3 slices thick cut bacon (cut into lardons)
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 - 3 apples, peeled and diced (save the peels for the curry broth)
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt, pepper (to taste)

Finishing Ingredients:

  • 4 - 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ onion, small dice
  • About ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

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(Start with the curry stock)

1. In a large sauce pot, sear the chicken wings in butter. Mix in the curry powder.

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2. Add your mirepoix vegetables (carrot, celery, and onion) to the pot. Sweat them over low heat until the onion begins to turn transparent.

3. Peel the apples and add the peels to the pot.

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4. Cut the peeled apples into small cubes and place in lemon water to prevent browning. Set aside.

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5. Add chicken stock and your bouquet garni to the pot. Simmer for 25 – 30 minutes.

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6. While the stock simmers, set another pot of salty water (or any left over chicken stock you might have) to boil. Once boiling, add the chicken breast to the pot and poach for about 15 minutes.

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7. Once fully cooked, remove the chicken breast from the pot. Let it cool on a paper towel and set aside.

8. By the time the chicken is done cooking, your stock should be ready. Season with salt and pepper, then strain the stock through a chinois and into a bowl or bain marie. Set aside.

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9. In a clean pot, add the ½ onion (small dice) and sweat in butter until tender. Add the flour and cook until the roux develops some color (about 5 minutes).

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10. Add the curry stock to the pot and whisk until smooth. Add the cream to the pot and simmer on low heat for 10 – 12 minutes.

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(Hang in there! Not too much longer now. Time to make the garnish while the broth simmers.)

11. Cook the rice. Put rice and water in a pot, then bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the pot, and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.) Strain the rice, let it cool and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

12. In a small sauté pan, add some water and blanch your bacon lardons over high heat for about 1 - 2 minutes (don’t let them get color – you’re basically just heating them up here). Dry the lardons, then sauté them in oil until golden brown and crispy. Set aside.

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13. Cut your poached chicken breast into small strips. Set aside.

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(This is it – the home stretch! Time to finish this soup.)

14. Strain the simmering soup into a clean pot. Check the consistency and season as needed. It should be relatively thick at this point, but if it isn’t keep simmering over low heat to reduce it.

15. Add the diced apple to the soup, then the rice. Simmer for another 8 – 10 minutes.

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16. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, then pile some of the chicken breast and crispy lardons in the center. Serve hot.

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