cream of lentil and chestnut soup with foie gras custard

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Servs: 6

<I>Adapted from La R&#233;galade</i><P> Active time; 45 min Start to finish: 1 1/2 hr

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  • add   100 gm cooked pure-goose
  • add   2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • add   2 large egg yolks
  • add   foie gras medallions (3 1/2 oz)
  • add   2 whole large eggs
  • add   4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • add   10 cups cold water
  • add   1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • add   1/3 cup sliced almonds, toastedSpecial equipment: 6 (1 1/2-cup) ovenproof soup plates and kitchen string
  • add   4 fresh chives
  • add   4 very thin slices firm white sandwich bread, cut in 1/4-inch dice
  • add   4 fresh parsley sprigs
  • add   1 to 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • add   2 bay leaves (not California)
  • add   1 cup dried lentilles de Puy (French green lentils; 7 oz)
  • add   1/2 lb vacuum-packed chestnuts (1 1/2 cups)

Instructions

  1. Make croutons:
  2. Heat 1/4 inch oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook bread, stirring frequently, until deep golden, about
  3. 1 minute. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
  4. Make soup:
  5. Tie thyme, parsley, chives, and bay leaves together with kitchen string to make a bouquet garni. Bring lentils, chestnuts, water, bouquet garni, and
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan. Simmer, partially covered, until lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard bouquet garni and reserve 2 cups cooking liquid. Purée remaining soup in 2 or 3 batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then pour through a large sieve into a large bowl, discarding solids. Whisk in enough of reserved cooking liquid to reach a thin, creamy consistency, then season with salt and pepper. (Soup will continue to thicken as it stands; keep reserved cooking liquid on hand to thin as needed.)
  7. Make custard while soup simmers:
  8. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  9. Purée foie gras, whole eggs, yolks, and remaining teaspoon salt in a
  10. food processor until very smooth.
  11. With motor running, add 1 cup cream in a stream and blend until just combined (do not overprocess, or cream will curdle).
  12. Put soup plates on 2 large baking sheets, then divide custard among them. Bake in upper and lower thirds
  13. of oven until just set, 15 to 20 minutes (some custards will cook quicker than others; check each one). Cool to warm.
  14. To assemble and serve:
  15. Reheat soup, stirring occasionally, until very hot. Beat remaining ‚ cup cream until it just holds stiff peaks, then vigorously whisk whipped cream into soup. Pour soup over custards and sprinkle with croutons and almonds.
  16. Cooks' note:
  17. • Custards may be made (but not baked)
  18. 4 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Because of chilling, you may need to bake custards a few extra minutes if made ahead.

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