Potage Aux Concombres (Cream of Cucumber Soup)

by thomandaimee

Setting aside our tongs and skewers from the summer barbecue, there were plenty of leftovers in the fridge. Uncooked beef patties became breakfast-on-the-go during work days, corn were used in sumptuous Chinese soups, and whatever unused became part our dinners for the next few days.

A couple of cucumbers were lying around in the kitchen and to stop our Mom from harping on food wastage, we decided to turn up the heat with a reliable Julia Child’s potage aux concombres. Personally, I’m not a big fan of cucumbers, especially raw as they do tend to be slightly bitter to taste. Despite so, they are brilliant additions to salads and sandwiches with their distinctive refreshing cleanness. To kick the bitterness back, pair cucumbers with sour ingredients like goat cheese, yoghurt, vinegar or dill.

We found that the telegraphic cucumbers are not as bitter as the common ones, but cucumbers really do taste all the same anyway! The soup was very light on the palate, but had the right balance of flavours with the sour cream and the slight punch of the dill. Perfect as a starter for a weekend lunch!

Also, Bilbo the Dill is our latest member to join our garden and we were more than happy to make use of what he can offer. He’s doing very well sitting by Frodo the Basil. Speaking of which, Pippin the Thyme passed on recently. We couldn’t save him despite our efforts; apparently our Dad (the resident gardener) moved his soil. Time to visit the nursery then.

Potage Aux Concombres (Cream of Cucumber Soup)
By Julia Child

Serves 4 -6

680g cucumbers
85g minced shallots; or a combination of shallots, spring onions, and onions
43g butter
1180ml light chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon dried dill or tarragon
4 tablespoons quick-cooking farina (cream of wheat) breakfast cereal (We used polenta instead)
Salt and pepper, to season
240ml sour cream
1-2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, tarragon, or parsley

Directions

Peel the cucumbers. Cut 18 to 24 paper-thin slices and reserve in a bowl for garnish. Cut the rest of the cucumbers into 1/2 inch chunks.

Melt butter at medium heat and add the shallots when the butter has melted. Turn down to low heat and cook the shallots (and spring onions, onions, if using) slowly in the butter for several minutes until tender but not browned. Add the cucumber chunks, chicken stock, vinegar, and herbs.

Bring to the boil, then stir in the farina. Simmer, partially covered, for 20 to 25 minutes. Puree, and return the soup to the pan. Thin out with more liquid if necessary; season carefully with salt and pepper.

Bring to simmer just before serving and beat half part of the sour cream. Ladle into soup bowls, and place a dollop of the remaining sour cream in each bowl; float slices of cucumber on top of cream and decorate with a sprinkling of herbs.

For the cold version

After stirring in the half part of sour cream, over-salt slightly and let cool uncovered, stirring occasionally. Then cover and chill. Ladle into chilled soup cups, adding a big spoonful of the remaining sour cream to each cup; float cucumber slices on top of the cream and decorate with herbs.

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