I was spending the last few days of our winter vacation in Paris and chatting with friends to plan the de-installation of a show we were all participating in. My current location came to be the topic of conversation, and a dear friend reminisced about a Blanquette de Veau she ate at Auberge Bressane in Paris. Since the girls were spending the night this past weekend, I offered to make the dish for them.
We have been planning a lot of soups and stews here to get through a rather chilly January, and I have been looking forward to making a stew with some of the beautiful dried mushrooms I brought back from the open air markets in Barcelona. I wanted something healthy and hearty and full of earthy flavors, and decided to use Porcini and Chanterelle mushrooms for my stew.
Soup is one of Nico’s favorite “food categories” and has been perfect through this strange cold spell on the east coast these past few weeks. Nico made a request for some kind of pumpkin soup, so I figured we would go for a butternut squash and carrot. I like to roast the squash and carrots to shorten the soup cooking time but also to give a sweetness and smokiness to the vegetables that is generally not activated with just boiling them.
When I was in Philadelphia last month, I bought a bit under a pound of prosciutto chunks…you know, just in case! I decided today was the day to use them. I was craving peas, and wanted to make a split pea soup. I did not have any smoked ham-hocks left, and have never liked the flavor of chunks of regular ham, so in went the prosciutto! Smoked meats give this soup a really lovely complex flavor.