I adapted this recipe from my treasured copy of the [now OOP] Cordon Bleu Cook Book by Dione Lucas. My dad gifted the cookbook to me a couple of years ago. I knew immediately that it was right up my alley: on the cover, under the author's name, an excerpt boldly states "the finest French recipes from the internationally famous Cordon Bleu restaurants and schools, adapted for American home cooking." I love it!
This potage singhalese is the crown jewel of Lucas' soup chapter. It is one of the best soups I have ever had. It's rich, creamy, spicy and vaugely sweet, and the South Asian and French flavors compliment each other nicely. The potage can be served hot or in small bowls encircled with ice.
The recipe calls for a small apple. If you're using a granny smith, which tends to be less sweet and less juicy than most other apples, you'll want to add the optional 1/4 teaspoon of brown sugar to the potage. On the other hand, if using a sweeter apple like a pink lady, you'll probably want to omit the sugar.
Most of our spice cabinets, including mine, are stocked with a generic curry powder that caters to Western pallets, like McCormick or Badia. Both brands make a decent product and are good starting points for building flavor. But, in the final stage, you'll likely want to add another 1/2 or more of the curry along with a pinch of the various spices in the recipe to really bring out the depth of flavor that makes this potage so delicious.
When building flavor, and especially when working with hot spices, remember that you can always add but you can't take away. As such, I do suggest adding the cayenne and pepper flakes in small increments. If you're using a medium or hot curry power like the UK-produced Sharwoods madras curry, then you'll definitely want to omit the cayenne and pepper flakes. Unless you're a heat junkie. In which case I say go for it.
Ok. Let's do this. I hope you enjoy this potage as much as I do!
- 3 tbsp "European-style" butter
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp yellow curry powder
- 4 tbsp flour
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup fresh pea puree
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 small cube chicken demi glace
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 pinch crushed cardamom seeds
- 1 pinch cumin
- 1 pinch turmeric
- 1 pinch paprika
- 6 ounces poached chicken breast, diced
- 1/4 tsp brown sugar (optional)
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan. Add the sliced onion and apple and cook over medium low heat until they become soft, about 5-6 minutes. Do not allow the ingredients to brown.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and add the curry power. Gently stir to evenly coat the onion and apple with the powder and continue cooking on low heat for another five minutes.
- Add the pea puree, the flour, salt, spices, red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper. Gently stir once more to evenly distribute the ingredients over the onion and apple.
- Stir in the chicken stock and demi glace. Add the bay leaf. Continue stirring for a minute, then bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Remove the mixture from heat once it starts boiling.
- Set a food mill over a medium-sized bowl. If you're going to serve the potage cold, then place the medium bowl in a larger ice-filled mixing bowl. Run the ingredients through the mill until you've extracted all the juices.
- Stir in the heavy cream, then add the diced chicken meat. Season to taste with salt and more of the spices.
If you make this recipe, hashtag a pic to #spiceandhutch and post to Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter. I'd love to see your culinary creations!