For today’s guest blogger we have Amy from Whatscookingwithchefamy. She is taking us into the blog’s second recipe with Morels. The first, was pizza. This one equally looks divine. Check it out and also take a look at Whatscookingwithchefamy…
I know we all have fond food memories, from childhood to high school to trips around the world we might have taken. For me it’s when I worked on a cruise ship…yes I was one those people how live on the water, for 6 ½ years. It was the greatest experience I ever had, sailing the eastern and western Caribbean living rent free, having great food experiences!! I tried lots dishes from all over some I liked some I did not.
Now I know you all are thinking of course you had great food, you got to eat all that great cruise ship food they served in the dining room…well put the brakes on!!! That was not the case at least most of the time.
If you didn’t know the crew members have their own eating areas, we had the area I ate in, with others from US, European countries, then you had a Caribbean area, from Jamaica, Haiti, other islands etc., and then we had 2 Asian area’s Philippines and Koran/China. So I really got to try different dishes, and this was not your tourist restaurant food this was those chefs from those countries cooking their Mama’s recipes. You couldn’t have visited those countries and got better down home cooking.
Not only having my own world crew mess, I got to try a variety of dishes at the islands we traveled too. This is place I got my second career calling, even though I did not work on the ship as chef or even in that field, I had my connections. So much that I would go with some of the chefs to the other side of our private island to go fishing and then bring it back to the ship and cook it…now that is fresh!!
I got the chance to go into the kitchens and help prep for dinners, and I learned a lot, I would also get the chance to work/help out in the “Palm Tree Restaurant” up on the top floor of the ship. This was a restaurant that took reservations and you could enjoy eating there instead of the main dining room. I would say that had maybe 16 tables; they had 2, 4, & a couple of 6 tops. This is where I had the best soup, Cream of Morels with puff pastry.
This was served in an individual soup crock, with this golden brown puff pastry on top. It would come out on silver platter with a big silver dome over top, and they would sit it in front of you and lift the dome and say “voila`” That was it for me…one of my all-time high up on the list of food moments.
How did they make it…I really couldn’t tell you, I don’t remember. I was really just a baby when I worked on the ship… So I gave it a try and this is what I came up with…I hope you will enjoy!!
First let’s talk Morels, if you are fortunate to live in area where they grow you are more likely to find fresh morels more often, otherwise you have to buy they dried. Which is okay you just need reconstitute them.
Reconstituting the Morels, heat broth, add morels, stir, cover, let set for 20 minutes.
Draining the morels, take a coffee filter put it in a strainer, set over dish to catch liquid,
Squeeze the liquid out of the morels and set those on cutting board
Reason why you need to pour the liquid through a coffee filter to catch all the dirt/sand
Rough chopped the Morels
I like grating the shallots & garlic, I feel I get more flavor out of them by doing this, it almost just melts
To a stock pot at butter and shallots, cook for about 2 minutes, stirring not to burn
Then add flour and cook for at least 1 minute, while stirring
I then add the wine, stirring and cooking for about 30 seconds
Whisk in chicken broth; add thyme and morels, let cook, covered on low for 20 minutes
Then add cream and half and half, I felt like the flavor was not rich enough for me so I added some good Balsamic vinegar,
cook on medium low until the soup thickens
I used this little soup crock or you can use a ramekin of some kind
Take your sheet of puff pastry, thaw it out, and make an egg wash (1 egg w/1 tbsp. water)
Put your crock down on puff pastry
and cut about 1 inch larger around the crock
Put soup in the crock leaving about 1 inch from the top,
lay puff pastry on top and turn edge under
Your puff pastry does not have to be perfect, I like the unevenness it makes it look more rustic, then brush the egg wash all over the pastry and bake at 400 degrees until golden brown.
I must say this was oh so delicious and took me right back being on the good ole M.S. Seward
Cream of Morel Soup with Puff Pastry
1 oz. net weight Dried Morel mushrooms or 1 ½ cups fresh
3-3 ½ cups Chicken broth or Veggie stock (or you could use beef as well)
3 large sprigs of fresh Thyme
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup white wine
3 tbsp. butter
¼ cup flour
4 garlic cloves
1 large shallot
½ cup half and half
½ cup heavy cream
1 puff pastry sheet
In a small sauce pan add 1 ½ cups broth, heat over med-high bring to a boil, remove from heat then add dried morels, stir and cover for 20 minutes (stirring 1 or twice)
Meanwhile grate shallots and garlic, and set aside.
Put a coffee filter in a strainer then put strainer over a bowl, pour morel liquid slowly in coffee filter, with your hands squeeze the morels and place on cutting board and rough chop. Once all the liquid has been strained, pour into a measuring cup and add additional broth to make 3 cups.
In a large stock pot over medium heat add butter, shallots and garlic, stirring so not to burn cook for about 2 minutes, and then add flour stirring and cooking for a least 1 minute. Stir in wine, cook 30 seconds then whisk in broth, add thyme sprigs and morels, cook for 20 minutes on low. Then stir in cream and half and half continue to cook on medium low until soup becomes thickened.
Take out thawed puff pastry and trace around crock/ramekin making it 1 inch larger, take egg and 1 tbsp. water add to a small bowl whisk together, set all aside.
Once soup had thickened, pour into small crocks/ramekins, I leave about 1 inch from the top. Take puff pastry disc and lay on top of crock and turn edge under, do this all the way around. Take egg wash and brush the top and sides of puff pastry and bake at 400 degrees until the pastry is golden brown.
This will make 3 larger or 6 smaller crock/ramekins.