Sunday, September 13, 2009

Potage Parmentier by Julia Child

I probably mentioned that I have recently seen the movie Julie & Julia as well as read the book. I enjoyed both of them and recommend them if you enjoy the culinary arts. It was a fun movie. The book was a bit darker and more intense at times but still a very good read. Julie Powell takes most of the book almost directly from her blog, The Julie / Julia Project. I went online to read her blog and realized it was almost “word for word” the same as the book. Not an issue. Just read the blog or the book, not both. In any event, this movie and book have made me wonder about the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I by Julia Child that has been sitting in my china cabinet for months. I pulled it out yesterday and decided to make Potage Parmentier for a few reasons:

1. I love potato soup and so does my family;
2. It was one of the first recipes that Julie tried to make; and
3. I had all the ingredients sitting in my cupboard and fridge.

The recipe turned out great but I did make a few alterations. I added some chunks of potato to suit my son’s taste. I didn’t use quite as much salt as Julia recommends. I used a “ricer” instead of a food mill because I own a ricer and do not own a food mill. I’m not sure I even know what a food mill is but I am sure that someone will explain it to me. If I remember correctly, Julie did the same thing in the book. I will probably try a few more recipes at some point. I really want to try making a soufflĂ©. The Boeuf a la Bourguinonne sounds yummy. Crepes are a good thing, at least in my opinion. I have never made a quiche but it would be cool to try making one, I think. Those are the recipes that jump out at me.

On Friday, I am taking a cooking class with a friend of mine that honors Julia Child and her French cooking. I’m anticipating having fun and eating well at that class. I’ll tell you about it the following week.

Last weekend, we drove up to visit some friends of ours who live in New Jersey. Oddly, Julia Child came up in conversation. I guess now that the movie is out she is regaining some popularity. Our host told me that a group of his friends are forming a Julia Child Dinner Club. Each couple is going to make a dinner from Mastering the Art of French Cooking and share it with the rest of the group each month. I begged him to blog about his experiences making those meals but I wasn’t able to convince him. He told me that he isn’t inclined to make any of the organ meat or aspic recipes but that he is interested in making the Pate de Canard en Croute which is Boned Stuffed Duck Baked in a Pastry Crust. That is one of the recipes featured prominently in the movie. He suggested having a butcher bone the duck rather than trying to do it yourself. It makes sense to me. Why bone a duck if you don’t have to?! I guess it makes a better book and movie if you do it yourself and drop the duck on the floor a few times. That certainly would frustrate me. I don’t like handling raw meat all that much.

Potage Parmentier
{Leek or Onion and Potato Soup}
By Julia Child

For about 2 quarts serving 6 to 8 people

3 to 4 cups or 1 lb. peeled potatoes, sliced or diced
3 cups or 1 lb. thinly sliced leeks including the tender green;
Or yellow onions
2 quarts of water
1 Tbs. salt
4 to 6 Tbs. whipping cream
Or 2 to 3 Tbs. softened butter
2 to 3 Tbs. minced parsley or chives

Use a 3 to 4 quart saucepan. Simmer the vegetables, water and salt together, partially covered, for 40 to 50 minutes until the vegetables are tender;

Mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork or pass the soup through a food mill. Correct seasoning. Set aside uncovered until just before serving, then reheat to the simmer.

Off heat and just before serving, stir in the cream or butter by spoonfuls. Pour into a tureen or soup cups and decorate with the herbs.


The Creative Cook