Veloute Agnes Sorel

23 07 2008

This week we had another in a series of soups. I’ve finally caught on that the theory we’re learning right now is the components of master soups. Our first soup was a simple broth lightened with cream. The next soup was lightened with cream, and thickened with pureed potato; a potage. This week, we have a veloute (veh-loo-TAY), a broth thickened with egg or a blond roux. The recipe we used called for cream to be mixed with egg yolk, tempered, and stirred back into the broth. Cook over medium heat until the soup thickens, but be very careful not to let it come to a boil because the soup will curdle. And it will curdle, I assure you.

The first step was to create the very mild stock…white stock…one that does not include roasted bones, and will be pale and delicate in flavor. The recipe we used basically poached the chicken gently with some flavor enhancements…carrot, bouquet garni and an onion. The broth was strained through a damp towel to remove any particles, and the result was a rather bland stock that was lightly colored, but smelled heavenly.

At that point, company arrived, and I shelved the soup until the following day.

The rest of the soup was pretty easy to assemble…julienne sliced chicken breast, mushrooms, and tongue. Tongue? As in thith-thin-i-y-outh? I don’t think so. Ham was offered as a substitute, we went there instead. Ok, be fair here…If mussels are a challenge, do you know how nigh unto impossible it would be to just go “pick up” some tongue…?? Egad…I shudder to think. I could probably get it, by special order. And easier than mussels, but there was a ham in the refrigerator already… As for the mushrooms, I also selected Crimini…without realizing that we were working toward pale colored creaminess…oh well.

With all the little characters assembled, julienne all stacked in their rows; I stirred up my egg yolk and added the cream, and blended that nicely. Then I started drizzling in hot broth, until I’d incorporated about a cup into the cream. I added the creamy mixture back to the saucepan of soup, and began stirring and waiting for the soup to thicken.

Presto! Change-o! Uh-oh. Even with me stirring diligently, the soup got too hot too fast and curdled. A few choice words were spoken. Nothing brings one of these back from the point of no return. I resorted to thickening the soup with cornstarch so we could eat it. It tasted fine, it had just lost its perfect smoothness and creaminess.

At this point, let me say I’ve done quite a bit of research since this dismal showing. I hate blowing a recipe. At any rate, most of the veloute recipes I’ve come across thicken their soups and sauces with the blond roux…as will I in the future. I’ll save the eggs for pudding. *Ü*

In the long run, I didn’t care for this soup as much. I didn’t care for the texture of the chicken breast or the ham. I understood why tongue was an added element…it would be one way to get rid of the darn piece of meat! Let’s play “Hide the Tongue”!! If you slice it julienne, and mix it with chicken breast you can say… “Oh! You like tongue! You had it in that soup…and it tasted just like chicken!!” I’m getting a clue here! These French cooks are clever! They find ways to get you to eat all kinds of offal stuff! Ok, I’ll stop. I don’t want to be PUNished.

I’m heading back to the cutting board to see which other soups are considered veloutes. Ahhh….here’s an “Evil Mushroom Veloute” and…it’s thickened with the roux as well. Hmmmm…What the heck. We know a curdled soup eats just fine.  We’ll give this one a go both ways!

That’s obviously the intent…so I’ll play with hot broth, eggs and cream until I get it! Next up…Langostine bisque…which in my case will be presented as shrimp bisque. See you next week…until then, cook up some happiness!