Celebrating its recent publication, the team behind Paul Gayler's Great Homemade Soups - A Cook's Collection have been kind enough to provide FOUR with three featured recipes from the book's coveted pages for us to share with you, our dear readers! Below is soupe a l'oignon gratinée by Chris and Jeff Galvin, smoked apple soup with eel, bacon and mint oil from Tom Kerridge - who happened to be one of our four guests chefs in the latest edition of FOUR UK - and a Borscht recipe by the man who took it upon himself to begin this wonderful cookbook - Paul Gayler.
CHRIS AND JEFF GALVIN’S soupe a l’oignon gratinée
This staple French soup is traditionally served in bistros and brasseries throughout France and worldwide. But there is nothing standard about it. It is the perfect example of how the simplest, most basic of ingredients can produce something really special. This recipe comes courtesy of great chefs and friends, brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin, who, in my opinion, have revolutionised and reinvented bistro cooking in Britain. Chris says that for the best results, you will need to start with a full-bodied stock.
50g (1¾oz/3½ tbsp) unsalted butter
4 large onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, sliced
75ml (2½ fl oz/1/3 cup) white wine
3 litres (5¼ pints/2.6 quarts or 12 cups)
brown chicken stock (see p.19)
120ml (4fl oz/½ cup) white port
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
125g (4½oz/1 cup) Gruyère cheese, grated
For the croûtons
¼ French baguette
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, then add the onions and cook over a medium heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft, caramelised and golden.
Add the thyme, bayleaf and garlic and cook for 10 minutes. Add the wine, bring to the boil and continue to boil until the wine is reduced by half. Pour in the stock, bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the croûtons. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
Cut the baguette into 3mm (1⁄8in) slices, put on a baking tray, then drizzle with the oil. Bake in the reheated oven for 7 minutes, or until golden. Set aside. Preheat the grill.
Stir the port into the soup and bring it back to the boil. Season to taste.
Divide the soup between 4 individual soup bowls and sprinkle each portion with the croûtons. Scatter with the Gruyère cheese, then put under a hot grill until the cheese colours and bubbles. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
Chris and Jeff say the secret of this great classic onion soup is to caramelise the onions slowly to build up a good depth of colour.
Variation: Beer Soup
Proceed as for the basic soup but replace the port with 275ml (9fl oz) bottle of dark beer and replace the Gruyère with a washed-rind cheese such as Vacherin or Livarot. This variation is typical of countries such as Switzerland and Germany.
TOM KERRIDGE’S smoked apple soup with eel, bacon and mint oil
This recipe comes from friend and TV celebrity chef, Tom Kerridge. It is an explosion of fresh clean flavours. Tom recently cooked this soup as part of a menu for 1,000 chefs and other industry notables, which is no mean feat. The soup was a big hit, so I am really pleased to be able to include it in my book.
5 Bramley apples
600ml (1 pint/2½ cups) water
juice of ½ lemon
50g (1¾oz/¼ cup) caster sugar
20g (¾oz/1½ tbsp) smoked butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
For the dill-pickled cucumber
100g (3½oz/½ cup) caster sugar
200ml (7fl oz/¾ cup) white wine vinegar
½ cinnamon stick
4 star anise
¼ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and cut into 1cm (½in) cubes
1 tbsp fresh dill
For the mint oil
75ml (2½fl oz/1/3 cup) vegetable oil
20g (¾oz/1 cup) whole mint leaves
200g (7oz) boiled cooked belly pork, rind removed and cut into 1cm (½in) cubes
200g (7oz) good-quality smoked eel fillet, skin removed and cut into 1cm (½in) cubes
75g (2½oz/2½ cups) multi-grain bread croûtons, toasted (see p.11)
borage flowers and cress (optional)
The day before, prepare the dill-pickled cucumber. Put all the ingredients except the cucumber and dill in a small pan, bring slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat and infuse for 20 minutes.
Strain through a sieve, then transfer to a small blender, add the dill and blitz until well blended. Add the cucumber and refrigerate overnight.
For the mint oil, heat the oil in a small pan to 150°C (300°F), add the mint leaves, then strain into a bowl through a sieve lined with muslin. Refrigerate until needed.
To make the soup, peel, core and thickly slice 4 of the apples. Bring the water, lemon juice and sugar to the boil, add the apples and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft.
Transfer to a blender or use a hand-held stick blender to blitz to a smooth purée. Strain through a fine sieve.
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting.
Return the strained soup to a clean pan over a medium heat and whisk in the smoked butter.
Meanwhile, put the belly pork and eel together in a small dish in the preheated oven for 2–3 minutes until warm.
Peel, core and cut the remaining apple into small cubes the same size as the eel and bacon cubes.
Divide the apple and the warmed pork and eel between the individual soup bowls, add some of the dill-pickled cucumber to each bowl, then pour the warm soup over.
Drizzle with the mint oil and scatter with the croûtons. Garnish with the borage flowers and cress, if using. Serve immediately.
PAUL GAYLER'S Borscht
Over my years as a chef I’ve tasted many variations of borscht, both Russian and Polish at their best; all vary in flavour and ingredients. This recipe is adapted from one served some 15 years ago when I invited the chef from Moscow’s Café Pushkin to cook with me at The Lanesborough. It is the best borscht I have tasted; the addition of a little thinly sliced smoked duck or goose breast adds a pleasant smokiness to the sweet-and-sour beetroot soup. For best results, I recommend you make this soup a day ahead to allow the flavours to mellow and blend.
400g (14oz) beef chuck, fat and sinew removed and cut into 2.5cm (1in) cubes
2 litres (3½ pints/8½ cups) beef stock (see p.22)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
½ tsp caraway seeds
2 carrots, grated
1 turnip, peeled and grated
1 parsnip, peeled and grated
1 small celeriac, peeled and grated
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
10 allspice berries
1 small bayleaf
2 tsp tomato purée
300g (10oz) raw beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated
¼ small white cabbage, cored, shredded
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp caster sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g (7oz) kielbasa sausage, thinly sliced
1 smoked duck or goose breast, skin removed and thinly sliced
2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp coarsely chopped dill
100ml (3½fl oz/scant ½ cup) sour cream
The day before, put the beef in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then strain through a colander and rinse the meat under cold water. Return the blanched beef to a clean pan, add the beef stock and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 1-1.5 hours. Skim off any impurities that float to the surface.
Meanwhile, heat a large dry frying pan over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil, then the onion. Fry over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onion is softened and slightly coloured.
Add the caraway seeds, carrots, turnip, parsnip, celeriac, garlic, allspice and bayleaf, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes more until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomato puree and cook for 5 minutes more.
Transfer the contents of the frying pan to the beef pan and add the beetroot and cabbage. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.
Add the vinegar, sugar, a little salt and the sausage and duck breast. Simmer for 10 minutes more to heat the sausage and duck through.
Remove the allspice and bayleaf from the pan, then add half the parsley and half the dill and adjust the seasoning. The flavour should be a nice balance between sweetness and acidity, in other words, neither too sour nor too sweet.
Remove the pan from the heat, cool, then chill overnight to allow the flavours to develop.
The next day, bring the soup back to the boil and continue heating it for 2-3 minutes to ensure it is very hot. Divide between the individual soup bowls and top with the remaining chopped parsley and dill. Serve with plenty of crusty bread and with the sour cream.
Great Homemade Soups – A Cook’s Collection, By Paul Gayler, published by Jacqui Small at £25.00