Monday, March 2, 2015

Karkonosze Ski Lodge Potage

     A Polish Karkonosze Mountain Range Ski Lodge Theme Soup!
     Any place that there is mountains and snow, a hot hearty comfortable soup is a welcome sight.  A few years ago, I posted an old fashioned Swiss Alpine Soup recipe.  That hearty soup recipe receives many views each winter.  
     Later after doing some research, I fond out that similar soups were served at nearly every mountain winter sports community in Europe.  That got me to thinking!  With so many mountain ranges around the world that have ski lodge resorts, a variety soups could be made with themes that represent any number of mountain resort destinations. 

     This is what "Chef Creation Recipes" are all about.  There are traditional recipes and classic recipes that are always made the same way.  There are variations of traditional recipes.  Some recipe variations are regional.  Chef Creation Recipes are created for a purpose or to create interest.  The purpose just might be to sell an overstocked food item in the kitchen, like when too many tomatoes are ordered and they are overripe.  

     When there are a few bits of a variety of odd food items that need to be sold, add them all up and think of a soup theme that fits the bill.  Give the soup a name that creates consumer interest.  Calling the soup by the name "Vegetable Soup" is not exactly going to get an applause.  If the vegetables are all grown in a specific region of the world, like Provence, France, then throw the word Provence into the soup creation name mix.  Just by seeing the word Provence, most customers can easily imagine what kind of vegetables will be in the soup.
     After looking at a collection of vegetable odds and ends, if absolutely no geographical region comes to mind, then give the soup a seasonal name or a name that has a stylized theme.  Like I said, the name "Vegetable Soup" will not exactly get customers to eagerly dig into their wallets.

     Yes, being a chef does require having a little bit of con artist talent, but fraudulently calling a food creation what it is not, will be deemed as a dubious act.  Integrity is the name of the chef game.  When it comes to traditional recipes, never fake it.  Make the real thing.
     As far as Chef Creation Recipes are concerned, integrity means having respect on a global level.  If a chef creates a recipe theme that represents some cultural style, somewhere, then the Chef Creation Recipe should honestly and respectfully represent the region it is named after.  
     If the Chef Creation Recipe turns out good, the the sales will be good and customers will be interested in the geographic or cultural reference point that the name of the recipe refers to!  This is what the Chef Creation Recipes and the tourist trade are all about.  Chefs can steer tourists from one destination to the next, because when people taste international theme food and like it, they naturally seek the source.  Even if they have to swim across an ocean to get the next bite!

     If any culture around the globe has expertise on making hearty winter food, Poland has to be one of the first countries that comes to mind.  Relatively few people in America realize that there are great ski resorts on the Karkonosze Mountain Range in Poland.  Many Americans only picture the Alps when European winter sports are mentioned.  Europeans sure know about the Karkonosze Mountain ski resorts because that is a very busy place this time of year.  
     Anyway, the ingredients fit the style of today's Chef Creation Recipe and the theme definitely is a simple Polish style ski resort soup that is very hearty.  By adding the word Karkonosze to the name of today's recipe, it creates consumer interest.  As far as Chef Creation Soup Recipes go, today's Polish ski resort style soup tastes pretty good and it definitely is filling.

     Karkonosze Ski Lodge Potage:
     This recipe yields 1 large bowl of soup or 2 medium size portions.
     There are no complicated cooking techniques in this recipe.  This soup is simply boiled and simmered like an old fashioned potage.  A slurry is used to add a little body to the broth.  
     Lettuce greens can be cooked like spinach, Swiss Chard or any other green.  Lettuce greens add nutritional value. 
     Step 1:  Place 3 cups of light vegetable broth in a large sauce pot.
     Bring the broth to a boil over medium high heat.
     Step 2:  Add 1 large laurel leaf.
     Add 1 chopped garlic clove.
     Add 3/4 cup of large bite size pieces of red bliss potato.
     Add 1/3 cup of large bite size carrot pieces.
     Add 1/4 cup of large bite size peeled celery pieces.
     Add 1/3 cup of large bite size onion pieces.
     Add 6 ounces of large bite size pieces of chicken breast. 
     Add 5 ounces of sliced smoked veal kielbasa sausage.  (Gourmet veal kielbasa sausage is best for a ski lodge theme soup!)
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 2 pinches of thyme.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 pinch of dill weed.
     Step 3:  Return the soup to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.  
     Simmer the soup till the ingredients are fully cooked.  (The potatoes should be tender, not mushy.  Only add broth if the total volume of the soup reduces to less than 3 cups.)  
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 cup of a combination of any of these leafy greens:
     - baby red leaf lettuce
     - arugula
     - frisee 
     - baby spinach leaves
     - baby green oak leaf lettuce
     - baby endive
     Step 5:  Mix 3 tablespoons of flour with 1/2 cup of cold water to make a slurry.
     Add just enough of the slurry to the soup, while stirring, to slightly thicken the broth.  (Try not to make the broth too thick.  The thickened broth should no look like gravy.  There may be some leftover slurry that can be used for another recipe.)
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes and stir occasionally.
     Step 7:  Remove the laurel leaf and set it aside.
     Ladle the Karkonosze Ski Lodge Soup into a big soup bowl.
     Garnish with the reserved laurel leave and a few Italian Parsley sprigs.
     Grab a spoon and dig in!  This hearty ski lodge style potage will take the chill of of the bones!  

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