A Soothing Autumn Soup : Velouté de potimarron aux champignons des bois et crumble à la moelle

Red kuri squash soup with wild mushrooms and beef marrow crumble

 

Lucy Vanel, owner of the Plum Lyon Teaching Kitchen, walks you through the preparation of a velouté de potimarron aux champignons des bois, aka red kuri squash soup with wild mushrooms with a beef marrow crumble.

 

A variety of pumpkins and squash.

A stroll down the Croix Rousse Market at the harvest reveals, in addition to a plethora of interesting varieties of apple and pear, the walnuts just now dry enough to crack, and plump chestnuts waiting to be peeled.

Recipe from Lyon

Velouté de potimarron aux champignons des bois, aka red kuri squash soup with wild mushrooms with a beef marrow crumble © Lucy Vanel

The beef marrow is coming back into view now that weather has cooled, as well as burgeoning leeks, wild mushrooms of course, and the arrival of squash and pumpkin grown traditionally to keep over winter.

Butternut, blue hubbard, huge muscovado pumpkins sold by weight and cut by the wedge like a slab of meat, and of course the deep colored variety known in France as the potimarron, otherwise known as red kuri, or hokkaido squash.

It’s a funny little pumpkin cousin that renders a lovely warm nutty flavor and the bonus is that the skin, being thin, is edible through and through, imparting color as well as flavor and vitamins to a puréed velouté.

A soothing and nourishing effect to cushion the onslaught of autumn

The velouté is coming back as an entrée in Lyon cafés and eateries, and there’s nothing more satisfying than leaving the autumn wind with its scents of dry leaves and distant fires outside and settling in to the sound of the bustle and calm of the kitchen and table in a café along the quai.

Recipe from Lyon

Mushrooms from Croix-Rousse market in Lyon © Lucy Vanel

You might find this soup hidden in a tiny room littered with tables for two along a cobblestoned alleyway that seems like a secret passage.

Then again it might be equally at home on a white tablecloth in a bowl on a gold-rimmed charger flanked with row upon row of silver utensils, the beginning of a long languid autumn afternoon.

The difference is in the presentation, but the soothing and nourishing effect of this Lyonnais velouté remains the same.

RECIPE: Velouté de potimarron aux champignons des bois et crumble à la moelle

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

 

The Crumble

  • 70 g hard pressed cheese, grated (I use a vieux Comté but any extra sharp hard cheese will do)
  • 20 g plain flour or all purpose flour
  • 50 g beef marrow, (or butter if marrow isn’t available)
  • 50 g almond powder (white)
  • salt to season
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Recipe from Lyon

Deep colored variety known in France as the potimarron, otherwise known as red kuri, or hokkaido squash. © Lucy Vanel

 

The Velouté

  • 1 shallot, chopped small or minced
  • 400 g red kuri squash, seeds removed, diced into ½ inch or 1 cm cube
  • 1 bouquet garni: parsley, bay and thym
  • 50 g unsalted butter, divided, 10 grams for cooking the squash, and 40 grams for finishing the velouté
  • 75 cl water, or 3 cups
  • ¼ tsp piment d’Espelette, cayenne or hot smoked paprika
  • 50 g crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, optional

For Cooking the Mushrooms

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 600 g seasonal wild and cultivated mushrooms
  • 20 g butter
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, optional

METHOD:

Make the Crumble:

Heat the oven to 200 °C or 400 °F.

In a bowl, combine the almond powder, the flour, the cheese and the beef marrow or butter. Work the dough thoroughly with your hands to the point where it is a smooth dough that holds together into a dense ball. Crumble the dough onto baking paper and bake until it browns, 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.

Make the Soup:

Melt and swirl the butter in a rather large (3 liter) saucepan and add the pumpkin and chopped shallot with a pinch of salt, and cook for 3 minutes.

Add the water and bouquet garni, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and allow to simmer with the lid balanced halfway over the pan to catch and return drops of evaporating liquid for approximately 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked soft.

Recipe from Lyon

For the crumble, combine the almond powder, the flour, the cheese and the beef marrow or butter © Lucy Vanel

Off heat, remove and discard the bouquet garni, season with salt, pepper and piment d’Espelette, and blend to a purée with the remaining 40 grams of butter and crème fraîche. Add the vinegar or lemon juice, stir to combine, and reserve.

Prepare the Mushrooms:

Clean the wild mushrooms and slice or break them into similarly sized pieces. Peel and mince the shallot. In a sauté pan, heat up the butter until it begins to take on a golden color and releases a warm, nutty aroma.

Add the shallots and mushrooms at once, sprinkle with salt, and toss in the butter until the mushrooms begin to wilt, but not until they are soggy with their own juices.

Note: Different mushrooms may take different times to cook. If you are using a selection of wild mushrooms, take the time to cook each type of mushroom separately to ensure that they’re softened to a good consistency before combining the mushrooms at the end of cooking.

Ladle the pumpkin puree into the serving dish, add a layer of wild mushrooms, and add a layer of the crumble to the top, finishing with a garnish of fresh herbs in season.

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