Spicy Cream of Kohlrabi Soup & Ode to One of the Masters of French Cooking

So I admit it…I went to French Culinary School without ever cooking a Julia Child recipe. Sure, I made many classic French dishes, bouillabaisse, boeuf bourguignon, etc. but not once did I pick up Julie Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In fact, I actually didn’t even own the cookbook until my parents purchased it as a gift for me at Christmas in the middle of my culinary school program.

I must admit I became obsessed with Julia Child without cooking her recipes or watching her cooking show. I have to sadly say it is thanks to that adorable movie Julie & Julia staring Meryl Streep that inspired this obsession. I watched this movie numerous times (as this too was gift at Christmas) and during my two-week road trip to Mexico I read the novel as well as Julia Child’s biography My Life in France.

Well, I guess it took a move to Cozumel to motivate me to look back at the roots of my French Cooking and to actually break the binding of MTAOFC. As I am sure you are aware, Cozumel is an island and I no longer have the convenience of purchasing the newest Food & Wine Magazine or the next hot cookbook. And again craving something other than Mexican food I decided to look at an oldie, but goodie…newbie to me since I never actually cooked from the “bible”.

Craving mushrooms for some reason I decided to make “Potage aux Champions” (note: this dish is not for dieters as this recipe calls for ¼ cup of butter, cream and three egg yolks. Oh, did I mention more butter, an additional 2-3 Tbsp is needed to finish off the soup…to tamponner the final result J). We enjoyed this dish simply as the main course as Julia stipulates in MTAOFC; “Here is a fine, rich, mushroom soup either for grand occasions or as the main course for a Sunday Supper”. We chose our “grand occasion” as a regular weeknight, but ate the soup as the main course with some fresh bread.  As it turns out this dish was superb and Julia Child is everything people say she was…duly noted from comments on my Facebook Post too:

Emily Egge I watched the movie Julie & Julia, I even read the book. I also read the Julia Child biography and now I am truly a believer…I just made my first Julia Child dish…Potage Veloute Aux Champignons (Cream of Mushroom Soup). Words can’t even describe….

Krista Love her: “The only time to eat diet food is when you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”

Clifford she is the truth.

With most of my cooking I had to take this dish one more level…try something with a Mexican spin to it. During my visit to the grocery store for the ingredients of Potage aux Champions I came across a limey green root-like vegetable that I have never seen (though it turns out this is a common Polish vegetable as my fiancé mentioned his babcia use to cook with it in Poland). I asked in my poor broken Spanish to the woman “¿Cómo se dice?” She responded: “Keabo” which translates to “Kohlrabi” a.k.a. German turnip.

The German turnip is not a root vegetable. In fact, this green bulb is a swollen stem that grows above ground. This vegetable is common in Central Europe, which explains why I never saw it on my dinner table as I grew up in the Michigan where our staple vegetable was corn. Although, it was difficult for my mother to get me to eat ANY vegetable for that matter unless it came with melted cheese whiz. Kohlrabi and a side of whiz please! Not sure if Julia used Kohlrabi back in the day, but I wanted to pay tribute to her “Potage aux Champions” by creating a Spicy Cream of Kohlrabi Soup.

Spicy Cream of Kohlrabi Soup

Note on the heat level: I stewed the soup with 2 habanero chilies. If you don’t like heat as my fiancé clearly didn’t…I quote “it really gets to my head”, kick it back a notch. Try other chili varieties or maybe just use one habanero. Experiment with it.

2 habanero chilies – whole

¼ cup onions – ciesler

1 lb Kohlrabi – diced/ cut in small macédoine (0.5 cm cube)

3 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp flour

6 cups of boiling white stock or chicken stock (I didn’t have stock on hand and in Mexico often your stock comes from a boullion cube and water, so I used a chicken boullion cube with 6 cups of water).

3 parsley sprigs

3 thyme sprigs

Bay leaf

2 Tbsp butter

1 tsp lemon juice

2 egg yolks

½ to ¾ cup heavy cream (another item that can be difficult to find in Cozumel, so I substituted a mix of milk and Mexican crèma).

Freshly ground pepper & salt to taste

  1. In a heavy bottom 2½-quart stockpot sweat onions in 3 Tbsp of butter until softened. Add kohlrabi, sweating for 3 minutes.
  2. Singer (dust) onions, kohlrabi and butter with flour and cook off the flour…this is creating a roux and helps thicken the soup.
  3. Add boiling stock to pot along with the parsley, thyme, bay leaf and habanero chilies. Cover pot partially and simmer for 20 minutes, skimming occasionally. Strain soup reserving the liquid.
  4. In a medium-mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and cream together with a wire whisk. Tamper the mixture with hot soup. Gradually stir in the rest. Season to taste.
  5. Return soup to stockpot and heat for a minute or two (do not let the soup boil).
  6. Before serving, stir in butter. Pour soup in bowls and enjoy with some fresh bread.

Submitted by Emily Egg – the “Cozumel Chef”. Emily is a classically trained French Chef. She has apprenticed at a number of French and New American restaurants in New York and New Jersey. Now on Cozumel Island, Emily is pursuing a passion for food and life. She is bringing a new spin to Mexican flavor and “home away from home” dining. Modernizing classic Mexican with a French technique flare Emily provides a unique culinary experience to remember on your vacation. Recipe originally published on the Cozumel Chef Blog.


1 Response to “Spicy Cream of Kohlrabi Soup & Ode to One of the Masters of French Cooking”

  1. 1 Katya October 8, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    looks/sounds yummy! Divine! going to give it a try! Gracias!

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