Paul's Kitchen

Paul Hill
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Trying something new

In my last column I said we would talk about bisques. Although most people think of France when they think of bisque, it is served all over the world in different forms. The French of Quebec brought with them, (when they came to Canada) the recipe and using local ingredients' made their own versions.

It was a couple of years ago, when I was serving a special meal for a couple celebrating a special event in their life that I used this recipe. With their meal I served this "root bisque," and since then, I have made it several times to the surprise of many people who thought they would probably not like it. I have told my friends on many occasions, that when we travel and stop to eat, I will look over the menu for something I have not had before, failing that I will pick the daily special. Either will usually reflect the local trends of in its preparation. "When in Rome, do (or eat) as the Romans."

In the past, the food and recipes relied on availability in your area. If you lived on the coast you specialized in fish dishes. Warmer climates meant more vegetables and fruit. Prairies gave us grains and cattle. Also: not that long ago we did not have the means to keep products for any length of time without spoiling. So we had to find other ways to preserve (salting, drying or pickling.) Hence, we get salt cod, pickled fruits and vegetables and beef jerky. Don't be afraid to try something different, you may be pleasantly surprised and if not you will know you really you don't like it.

To tell the truth, I have always enjoyed the experience of a new flavour, then coming home and trying to make it for my family, adjusting for their likes and dislikes. Once you make this bisque, you will be able to use the technique to try other bisques.

The ingredients: three tablespoons of (unsalted) butter, two tablespoons of finely chopped yellow onions, two cloves of finely chopped garlic, three large peeled and chopped carrots, 1 1/2 pounds of peeled and chopped turnip, 4 1/2 cups of chicken stock, one cup of orange juice, 2/3 cup of whipping cream, one tablespoon of dried dill weed, one teaspoon of sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. In a heavy stockpot, melt butter over low heat, and then add onion and garlic. Cook until tender, and do not brown. Add carrots, turnip, dill, salt and pepper, stir well to coat. Add your stock and orange juice; cook slowly until vegetables are tender (about 30 minutes.) Let cool slightly and puree in blender. Return to pot and test seasonings (add more salt and pepper if needed). Slowly add room temperature cream until heated completely, be careful not to scald.

When I serve this, I put bisque into a deep bistro bowl; add one spoon of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill on top. Put some crusty bread on the side. I hope you will try this and let me know how you liked it. Next time a hearty hamburger soup.

From Paul's kitchen, number 19, talk to you soon.

Geographic location: France, Quebec, Canada Rome

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