Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thomas Keller's Spring Vegetable Garbure

I've really been enjoying Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook. And over the last few weeks, I've been simmering, stirring and straining my way through some of the best recipes I've tested in a good while.  

In honor of Nashville's amazing sunny weather, I decided to make Keller's Spring Vegetable Garbure this past weekend. Keller writes that "a critical step, as in many of our stews and soups,  is the long, slow sweating of the vegetables." And so, this garbure involves slow cooking raw fava beans along with a colorful mixture of carrots, leaks, potatoes, peas, and asparagus.  I found that this technique brought out the best of these vegetables, as did the smoked bacon (which, as Keller notes, adds an "abundant collagen" to the body of the chicken broth). 

Aside from tasting delicious, this is also a hearty dish that offers several servings for plenty of guests or leftovers. I served my soup with an easy grilled cheese made with Gruyere, but this addition wasn't really necessary since the soup was so filling on its own.  

Keller is meticulous about his craft and his recipes certainly reveal this quality. Although this characteristic has undoubtedly helped make him one of the most successful chefs in America, I must warn you that his recipes are time-intensive and extremely detailed. Patience is of the most importance when attempting a Keller dish!

Honestly, the photo I took doesn't do this dish justice. So, close your eyes and imagine the taste of a rustic mix of beans, asparagus, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes with a hint of smoky bacon and sweet honey. 

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