Potage St. Germain

So--confession time.  Those of us "d’un certain âge" living on or near the Philadelphia Main Line, remember a time when, during our college years, several of us would hop in a car and drive to a restaurant we had all just "discovered" (especially those of us taking French 101), aptly called The Magic Pan.  Remember the revolving station where there would be 8 crepe pans cooking at one time?

And, always on the menu was that delicious soup, Potage St. Germain, served with a splash of sherry on the side, and generally topped with a dollop of sour cream.  Um, um good.

Remember this?

So, imagine our delight when we here at Au Bon Gout Boutique, saw that The French Cooking Academy included in their online cooking school lessons  and instructions on making creamed soups, including this recipe for Potage St. Germain.

For those of you that don't know, Potage Saint Germain is a classic French soup using pureed split green peas as a base. It is cooked with pork belly or often ham, carrot, onions and leeks, --simple ingredients that still manage to impress.  This soup is a French culinary school classic named after the Count of Saint Germain, minister of war under Louis XIV, who loved peas fresh and split peas and would always ask to have a soup made with those. Over time, this soup took on his his name.

In today's culinary world, the appellation « À la Saint-Germain »  refers to recipe made with pureed split peas and other garnishes made with peas.

INGREDIENTS  

  • 300 grams (10.5 ounces) split peas (poix cassés)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (1 for frying the meat and vegetables, and 1 for melting into the soup before serving) 
  • Bouquet garni 
  • 12 grams of salt (2 teaspoons) (to cook the soup) 
  • 2 large tablespoons of carrots (cut in small cubes) 
  • 2 tablespoons onions (cut in small cubes)  
  • 2 large tablespoons finely sliced leeks (only the green part) 
  • 1 garlic clove 
  • 50 – 100 grams (1.7 oz - 3.5 oz) pork belly (smoked or unsmoked) 
  • 1 stock cube (optional) 
  • 1 litre water or clear chicken stock (4.2 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons pan fried croutons (to decorate) 
  • Chervil (or parsley if chervil unavailable) (to decorate) 
  • 1 grind of pepper to serve (optional) 

Note:  If you are using salty stock cubes or a salty smoked bacon only add salt once the soup is finished to correct seasoning. 

Au Bon Gout Boutique Staff Comments
Comment #1 -
we used small pieces of ham from Heavenly Ham in this recipe
Comment # 2 - Making the Bouquet Garni - The French Cooking Academy has an excellent tutorial on making the bouquet garni that we recommend
Comment # 3 - Stock Cube
Our staff used a chicken bouillon stock cube

INSTRUCTIONS 

  • Blanch split peas by placing into a saucepan of cold water.  Bringing to a boil, and immediately after boiling point is reached, rinse in a sieve under cold water.
     
  • Melt a tablespoon of butter in a medium sized saucepan on a medium heat.  Add the  chopped meat and fry for about 3 mins.  Add the carrots, onions and leeks and stir together on medium to low heat.  Cook for 2 – 3 minutes. 

  • Add the peas and mix gently. 

  • Add 1 litre of cold water (if preferred, a stock cube can be added).  Raise the heat and bring to the boil.  Remove any scum. 

  • Add garlic, bouquet garni and (if the meat came on a bone), add that bone. 

  • Cook gently for ½ an hour and if no salty stock cube or salty meat has been used, then add 12 grams of salt. |

  • Cook for a further 10-15 minutes and take off the heat. 

  • Discard bouquet garni and bone (if used) and blend the soup with a stick blender to a smooth puree.  Pass it through a sieve. 

  • Add 1 tbs butter and melt gently into the soup. 

  • Serve very hot with croutons and chopped chervil (or chopped parsley if chervil is not available). 

Au Bon Gout Staff Serving Last Comment! - Sherry
We served this with a side of sherry to pour over the soup. Sour cream dollop optional.

Everyone here recommends the below tutorial video on preparing Potage Saint Germain.  Bon Appétit


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