Bibliophiles' Lunch

Sisters share paleo recipes, books, and DIY


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Soupe de Chataignes Corse (Chestnut and Pancetta Soup)

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I am trying to avoid onions and garlic as I find these things so hard to digest. I decided to alter the Chestnut and Pancetta Soup recipe from The Soups of France by Lois Anne Rothert by substituting celeriac for the onion and broth for the water.

Celeriac (celery root) comes in many sizes.
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I used three small celery roots for this soup.

1 lb chestnuts packed in a glass jar
3 oz pancetta diced
3 small celery roots peeled and diced
1 large fennel bulb sliced
6 cups chicken broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute the pancetta in the soup kettle for 5 minutes to render the fat and brown the bits. Add the chopped celery roots and saute for a few more minutes. Add the fennel, chestnuts and enough broth to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer for 25 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Using a stick blender, puree the soup until it is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.


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Potage Alenois (Watercress Soup)

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I had meant to try this soup for years and the stars finally aligned this holiday season–I had good watercress and I remembered to try the recipe (from The Soups of France, by Lois Anne Rothert, p 38) simultaneously. Of course I had to significantly alter the recipe for my dietary restrictions. The original recipe calls for watercress, butter, shallots, potatoes, water, salt, milk, sour cream, and parsley or chervil.

Here is my (very different) nondairy version:

2 bunches watercress, large stems removed
2 – 3 Tbs olive oil or other fat of choice
2 leeks, white and pale green parts chopped
4 – 6 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt

Coarsely chop the watercress leaves. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over low heat. Simmer the leeks until softened. Add the watercress, broth; add additional water to cover if needed. Simmer until the leeks and watercress are soft (15 – 20 minutes). Using a handheld blender blend a bit so that there are still some chunks left in the soup. Add salt to taste.


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Soupe de Cepes Correzienne (Wild Mushroom Soup)

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I began with the Wild Mushroom Soup recipe from The Soups of France by Lois Anne Rothert, my favorite soup recipe book. The original recipe calls for 16 oz fresh cepes. Since that isn’t so easy to accomplish, I generally reconstitute two to three little packages of dried mushrooms–porcini (Italian for cepe) or any other dried varieties–or I use whatever fresh mushrooms appeal to me at the supermarket. This time I used a package of white button mushrooms and a package of baby bella mushrooms.  Here is my version of the recipe:

16 oz package white button mushrooms, sliced
16 oz package baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 leeks sliced white and pale green parts only
3 Tbs rendered bacon fat (or fat of your choice)
2 cloves garlic
1-1/2 quarts chicken broth
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup coconut milk (homemade or canned, unsweetened)

Clean the mushrooms and slice. Slice the leeks. Melt the fat and saute the leeks for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cover stirring from time to time. When the mushrooms have rendered their liquid, softened and shrunk a bit add the garlic, broth, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes. Using a stick blender puree the soup until it is the consistency you like–I like pieces of mushroom still in my soup so I don’t puree much. Add the coconut milk.

Voila! A simple soup that is tasty and satisfying.


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Brandade de morue (Scalloped Salt Cod in cauliflower sauce)

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I looked at several salt cod recipes and decided that since I don’t use flour or night shade vegetables these days nor any dairy I’d better look at paleo recipes. Sarah Ballantyne has Scalloped Hake and Oysters on p 248 of The Paleo Approach Cookbook and I used this method for my salt cod. However, I hadn’t made any plantain crackers so I skipped them and increased the bacon bits as topping.

1 lb salt cod
1/2 cauliflower cut into florets
2 cups chicken broth
2 T coconut oil
1 shallot, finely diced
Pinch saffron
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
4 – 6 oz bacon, sauteed and crumbled

Soak a 1 lb package of salt cod in several changes of water for 24 hours.

Cauliflower sauce from The Paleo Approach Cookbook p 248: Saute the diced shallot in the coconut oil until tender. Add the saffron, wine, chicken broth, cauliflower, lemon zest, and garlic and simmer until the cauliflower is soft. Puree the cauliflower mixture.

Cut the salt cod into bite sized pieces and spread evenly in the bottom of a gratin dish. Pour the cauliflower mixture over the cod and sprinkle the bacon bits over the dish. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.

The cauliflower sauce with bacon bits makes for a nice alternative to a cream sauce and melted cheese or bread crumbs on top for those of us who can’t eat these things.  It was a hit–it is all eaten up between three of us.  Salt cod can be very delicate and tender when soaked and cooked gently.  Served with green beans and kohlrabi remoulade.


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Potage de Crecy — Carrot Soup

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I love carrot soup, so I turned to my favorite recipe in The Soups of France by Lois Anne Rothert.  However, she uses potatoes, butter, milk and curry powder none of which are currently on my diet, so I adjusted the recipe as follows:

2 T red palm oil
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 to 4 cups chopped carrots
1 T chopped ginger
2 cloves garlic, mashed
4 cups chicken broth to cover vegetables*
1-1/2 cups coconut milk**
salt to taste
shredded chicken to garnish

Melt the palm oil and saute the onions until they’re soft. Add the carrots, ginger and celery and saute a few more minutes. Cover the vegetables with broth and add the garlic. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Puree the soup with a stick blender and add the coconut milk and salt to taste. Add the chicken to bowls and pour the soup over the chicken.

* Broth: Take a chicken carcass, break into pieces and remove most of the meat. Cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer covered for 3+ hours. Let cool and strain out the pieces.

**Coconut milk: Blend 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut in a high speed blender to reduce the size of the pieces. Add 3-1/2 cups water and bring to the boil. Let cool for 1 hour. Blend in a high speed blender for 1 minute. Strain through a nut milk bag. Alternatively, use canned coconut milk if you can find any without guar gum, gellan gum or other stabilizers and additives.