Sunday, October 18, 2009

Making a Recipe Your Own, and a new soup recipe

When I teach my classes, I use recipes from many different sources. I page through magazines and cookbooks, read blogs and recipe sites, and create my own recipes based on dishes I've eaten at restaurants. I always credit the source of a recipe, whether I use it verbatim or adapt it slightly. However, when I've made a recipe several times and it has morphed significantly from its original state, I claim it as mine.

I find it almost impossible to create a brand new recipe-there aren't many things that haven't been cooked in one form or another. It comes down to ingredients and methods that make a recipe unique. Just changing 1 tbs of butter to 2 tbs of butter isn't enough, nor is switching the place where one ingredient goes into the dish. The end product must be unique to your recipe for it to be your very own. People work hard to write recipes that work and they deserve the credit for them. In this world of community generated recipe sites, one never knows who created a recipe, if it was tested, and if it even works.

On Wednesday I posted a link to a soup recipe from the LA Times, Kobacha Squash and Celery Root Soup with Maple Syrup and Browned Butter. The recipe came from a book called Love Soup by Anna Thomas. I made the soup yesterday and found myself ill prepared to follow the recipe (blame one of those trips to the store when you "think" you remember what you needed to buy). My recipe morphed into something different from the original but I loved what it became, and can't wait to make it again. It's quite rich so pairing it with a simple green salad would make the perfect dinner.

Give it a try. If you don't have the right ingredients, make it your own and see what happens. I'd love to hear about it.

Butternut Squash and Celery Root Soup with Browned Butter

1 2-3 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-2 inch chunks
1 1 1/2-pound celery root, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1-2 inch chunks

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided

coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 stalks celery, diced

1 small white onion, diced

5 large sage leaves

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (water works fine too)

pinch cayenne pepper

1 tbs pure maple syrup

2 tbs butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the squash, celery root, 1 tbs of the olive oil, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread the pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are golden brown on all sides and tender when pierced with a knife, 45-60 minutes, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Add the celery, onions, whole sage leaves, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the celery and onions are very tender, 10-12 minutes. When the squash and celery root are done, add them to the pot along with 4 cups of water, the chicken broth, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until the squash and celery root are very soft, almost falling apart, 20-30 minutes more. Season with a pinch of cayenne and the maple syrup.

Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth. Transfer it to a clean pot and add water, if needed, to thin the soup to your desired consistency.
At this point the soup can be cooled and refrigerated up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Just before serving, heat the butter in a small saute pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it turns a nutty brown color, 3-4 minutes. The butter can either be stirred into the soup or drizzled on top of each portion.

Serves 6-8

1 comment:

Amelia PS said...

Jodi: I loved reading this post, since I completely agree with you on the recipe origin. Nothing is new under the sun, but adding one's own touch (maybe a unique flavor combination, the lightening of a heavy classic, a herb from our garden) makes for a new experience.
It was Brillat-Savarin who said:
"The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star."
In a similar fashion of your soup, I created a carrot soup, perfect for this season:

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