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From the traditional to the trendy, here are 4 super-handy tips to help you transform your veloutés, soups and broths.
Tip no. 1: go for golden
Sauté some onions in butter, add a little flour, pour over some water, combine and you end up with a fragrant but somewhat rustic broth. But give each bowl a good slice of bread topped with Comté vieux cheese, grill until the topping turns golden brown and you have a whole new dish! What quicker way to transport yourself to a Parisian café, on a night out to the theater, warming up with France's legendary onion soup - or any other velouté that takes your fancy.
Tip no.2: give it some cool chic
It's the story of how the most ordinary of combinations - leek and potato - became a status symbol overnight, thanks to the ingenuity of a New York-based French chef. The secret behind the famous Vichyssoise? A perfectly velvety-smooth texture, created by adding an ounce of crème fraîche; and chilling after cooking… An idea worth stealing - and trying again and again on creamy green vegetable soups, like spinach or basil.
Tip no.3: make it the main event
Every coastal region of France has its own version of fish or shellfish soup, designed to make the most of the catch. From the very chic lobster bisque to the hearty Marseilles bouillabaisse, not forgetting a whole myriad of Atlantic fish stews, the basic principles are the same. First, pack in the flavor by making maximum use of the "scraps" like shells and heads. Second, don't forget about tasty sides, like garlic croûtons or homemade rouille, a kind of spicy red mayonnaise.
Tip no. 4: Put a lid on it
On February 25 1975, French culinary legend Paul Bocuse invented what would go down in history as "V.G.E. soup". He prepared it for the then President of the French Republic, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, at a dinner celebrating Chef Bocuse being awarded the Legion of Honor. It is particularly luxurious, containing black truffle and foie gras, but this soup is also steam-cooked under a puff pastry lid that you break with your spoon at the table. How about making your own version, by adding a pastry top to a spicy soup of diced winter vegetables?