Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Marc Aulén's Soups

Soups are held in such high esteem that at one point an entire day was dedicated to them each week in this blog: Soup Sunday.

They are incredibly versatile: some are quick and easy, some get their soul from slow roasting. They can be light or rich enough to feed an army. The world is your oyster when looking for an inspiration for travels on a plate: from Asian laksa to Morrocan serrouda. Chilled soups such as gazpacho, salmorejo and ajo blanco keep you cool in the sweltering heat, while roasted tomato soup with basil oil, chicken and corn soup, taco soup, cabbage soup and borsch warm you up when the temperatures drop. Some, such as vichyssoise can be served both hot or cold. They make an excellent dumping ground for leftovers as minestrone and Italian wedding soup prove. They are also a great way to smuggle more veggies into the diet of the most committed bacon-lover - one of my all time favourites is the minty pea soup.

So, Marc Aulén's restaurant Soppakeittiö (that's Soup Kitchen in Finnish) that serves soup and only soup has, over the years, become a familiar haunt. And yes, I, too, always go for the bouillabaisse, celebrated as the best in the country. These days he also operates a restaurant called Qulma in the beautiful, nautical neighbourhood of Kruunuhaka - the venue for our next Saturday's brunch. He has also found time to collect his soups into a book which I received as a welcomed present form its publisher. My review of the book (in Finnish) can be found here.

The recipes in this book will be revisited a lot - that I can tell. The book also features the recipe for that legendary French fishermen's classic, but I chose to put the author's personal favourite to test. Ladies and Gentlemen: Sikamakeekaali. Which roughly translates as Übercoolcabbage. You get the drift, I think. And with it, his special relish called Nordic dynamite which he recommends for... well, absolutely everything.

Our endeavour begun with The Boy Next Door sent to fetch a pot big enough for this. The recipe fails to mention how many people it serves, so be prepared. With a big pot. And I mean BIG - this feeds at least 10 people. Easily.

The cabbage soup:

appr. 1 kg pork shoulder or another, meaty bit still on the bone
300 g sliced onions
900 g shredded red cabbage
rape seed oil for sautéing
3 tbsp finger salt
3 tbsp balsamico
3 litres cloudy and preferably acidic apple juice

Fry the pork in a pan so it gets a nice colour. Add salt and some black pepper. Place in that massive pot of yours. Fry the onions until golden and dump into the pot too. The sauté cabbage and add into the pot along with rest of the ingredients. Bring to boil  and let simmer for about 2 hours - at this point the meat should be falling off the bone. Remove from the broth with a slotted spoon and shred the meat to chunks of desired size. Return to the pot and serve. Beer is the recommended accompaniment.

Nordic Dynamite:

3 tbsp lemon juice
0,7 litres cloudy, preferably acidic apple juice
2 dl raisins
2 dl lingonberries or cranberries
1 tsp crushed ginger
10 habanero chillis, stalks removed and halved
10 cubes brown sugar

Measure the ingredients into a pot, boil for 20-25 minutes and blizz into a purée. Keeps well in the fridge.

And the verdict? Interesting. The kind of comforting concoction that warms your body and soul and combines many great things:it's easy to make, makes most of the cheaper cuts and only requires a handful of ingredients. And that Nordic Dynamite compliments it beautifully adding depth and heat to it. It's also suitable for those avoiding carbs and it's gluten-free. And if only vegetarians ate meat, this would work for them as well. Like many soups, this only gets better in the following days after the meat really soaks the flavour from the broth. I highly recommend - both the book and the soup!

The Boy Next Door, specialized in spontaneous comments that defy the limits of context (and often, understanding) that tend to raise eyebrows and evoke some serious eye-rolling where ever he goes, started waxing lyrical.

"Winter. This tastes of winter. Tall chimneys pushing smoke into the frozen sky. And workmen, climbing on ladders." A quick search on my mental Google translator revealed this to be a good thing. Though the fact that by now he was already onto his fourth plate sort of hinted in that direction, too.

Nordic Dynamite was received with equal enthusiasm. "Well, it is a fact that the soup carries some deep, dark and leathery tones. You know, base-like. To which this relish lends an entirely new layer of high notes." (Understand that eye-rolling now...?)

*The book was received for free through blog for reviewing purposes*



http://www.andalusianauringossa.com/2013/05/soppasunnuntai-borssi.html    http://www.andalusianauringossa.com/2013/12/fredrik-erikssonin-sillia-ja-silakkaa.html   http://www.andalusianauringossa.com/2013/06/soppasunnuntai-parsaa-ja-ripaus-currya.html 

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