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A soup too far.......?

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by yallop, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. I got the 'Great British Food' cookbook from the library the other day, and was intrigued by a recipe for leek and potato soup by Angela Hartnell. To make soup for four, she specifies four whole chickens, yes, whole, not carcasses, to make the stock. And then says to discard the meat, apart from the oysters as a garnish. As a child of Bangladeshi parents, I can't help but be astonished by the profligacy. 4 chickens??? At least a dozen family meals in my home! I am sure it is delicious soup though. My leek and potato soup isn't so bad, by the way, even though it is often vegetarian, and if not, the stock will be from the carcass left over from Sunday lunch. Anyone tried this recipe?
     
  2. I got the 'Great British Food' cookbook from the library the other day, and was intrigued by a recipe for leek and potato soup by Angela Hartnell. To make soup for four, she specifies four whole chickens, yes, whole, not carcasses, to make the stock. And then says to discard the meat, apart from the oysters as a garnish. As a child of Bangladeshi parents, I can't help but be astonished by the profligacy. 4 chickens??? At least a dozen family meals in my home! I am sure it is delicious soup though. My leek and potato soup isn't so bad, by the way, even though it is often vegetarian, and if not, the stock will be from the carcass left over from Sunday lunch. Anyone tried this recipe?
     
  3. cinnamonsquare

    cinnamonsquare Occasional commenter

    How ridiculous! What a total waste of perfectly good food! I'd rather use a stock cube than throw away 4 chickens!
     
  4. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Surely that's chicken soup?
     
  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/leekandpotatosoupwit_81984
    Sorry I can't make it into a link but here's the recipe...
    I can't imagine anyone would be so wasteful!

     
  6. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    That sort of wastefulness would never be allowed in her restaurant, I can guarantee you.
    It's perfectly acceptable to use a whole chicken for stock, and if you want to make a light chicken stock, it's essential that the bird is raw (although I'd usually use wings myself), but the meat can still be kept to eat - either as poached chicken with a bit of mayo and sea salt sprinkled on top (heavenly!), eaten cold in sandwiches or reheated in curries, etc.
    I doubt she'd seriously advocate throwing all of that meat away - I suspect it's a mistype, a case of bad editing or someone has ghostwritten the recipe for her.
     
  7. I don't know why she's bothering making that chicken stock anyway - the recipe clearly states fish stock [​IMG]
     
  8. egyptgirl

    egyptgirl Senior commenter

    Looking at the recipe, it was made as a course on the Great British Menu. Whilst us mere mortals would never dream of using 4 chickens and then discarding the meat (although as Nick says it could be used in other recipes), she was probably just trying to inject as much flavour into the dish as possible.
     
  9. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    The fish stock is to poach the oysters in (the shellfish variety, which are used as a garnish along with the chicken oysters!).
    It's clearly a very cheffy dish, not something that most would attempt at home unless trying to impress. As EG says, it's a competition dish, cooked by one of the best chefs in the country, designed to win a highly prestigious competition - not home cooking, then.
    It's commonplace for high-end restaurants to make stock in this manner - although they would certainly use the cooked chicken for other dishes. They would be throwing profit away otherwise and no restaurant can afford to do this in this climate.
    Pleasingly, most top restaurants seem to have a strong ethical view with regards to food waste from my experience. Potato trimmings from fondant potatoes become mash or puree; fish bones and heads all go in the stock pot; tomato seeds and pulp go into jellies or essences; whole pigs from trotter to snout are used in a myriad of ways. I've even read of Michel Roux Jr feeding his staff on fried potato peelings so that even they don't go to waste!
     
  10. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Angela Hartnett is an outststanding chef. I, and a number of family/friends, ate in the private dining of Murano a few years ago and she cooked an 11 course menu for a very special birthday of mine.
     
  11. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Oh, and 'discard the meat' doesn't mean throw it away. It simply means it is not needed for this dish so use it for something else!
     
  12. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    The recipe in question rang a bell so I checked and I've got the book in question! It's from the first ever series of Great British Menu in about 2005 or 2006. It's definitely more of a food **** book than a practical recipe book - I've only attempted 2 dishes in it. One was an Atul Kochar recipe for sea bass that was stunning but a hell of a lot of work; the other was a recipe from Galton Blackiston that we attempted having returned from our first honeymoon (we had two!) in Norfolk where we'd eaten at his hotel. It in itself was quite straight forward, as much of his food is.
    I wouldn't attempt the other recipes though, unless I'd adapted them considerably. Yallop - you could still do this if you fancy, but with just one chicken that you could then eat as the main course. You could still use oysters, but I'd just poach them directly in the finished soup rather than using fish stock.
    And...it's just occured to me that she recommends 4 chickens because she uses the oysters as a garnish! She needs 8 oysters to garnish 4 portions of soup! You could easily just add a little picked chicken meat or leave it out altogether.
     
  13. Of course, that makes sense. It wouldn't hurt to explain that in the recipe! However, I don't think I'll be making that particular version of leek and potato soup. I have a thing whereby if I get a cookbook out of the library, I have to cook at least one thing from the book before it goes back, so I'll have to have another look before I decide what to make.
     

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