ffwD: Warm Weather Vegetable Pot Au Feu

For me, this week’s ffwD recipe was more about cautious optimism than joyful cooking. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed making this dish, but the numerous pitfalls that I could see while “mapping out” this recipe in my head seemed cumbersome and left me feeling antsy until I was actually in the kitchen cooking.

The recipe started off easily enough. I included the onion, carrots, leeks, pre-sliced button mushrooms and pre-washed spinach.But, after the surprising success of the organic eggs and purple passion asparagus two weeks ago, I wanted to incorporate them as well in this soup. Herein lies the problem. First, the purple passion asparagus, while tasty and fun looking, lost its main attraction, the purple color, after only two minutes in a microwave steam. In my unfounded need to keep some form of purplish color, I saw a sign at the farmers market that said, “Blue Russian potatoes–Will keep their color even after mashing and in salads.” Well, this sounded promising, so I purchased half a pound for fifty cents, hoping that I wouldn’t be disappointed with total color loss.Next came the organic eggs. Still relatively new to poaching and eating runny eggs, I felt it necessary to again purchase fresh organic eggs. I explained to the woman behind the stand that I still had some trepidation with poaching eggs, and she suggested I make an Arzac egg, where the egg is poached while enclosed in a cling-wrap pouch. She said this method would take away the possibility of yolk breakage.

Finally, I wanted to add some fish to my soup, just in case the eggs turned out to be a disaster. But, after flipping through three different recipes that Dorie refers to, I couldn’t ascertain whether to put the raw tilapia directly into the vegetable broth or cook it beforehand in a different pan. I took a gamble, patted the fillet quarters dry, and gently slipped them into the broth at the same time I added the asparagus and mushrooms.

Overall, I probably over-thought this soup and made it more complicated than necessary. I mean, it’s only soup after all. I’ll chalk it up as an occupational hazard of being an attorney. The soup’s flavor turned out quite delicious, and the texture was velvety with the egg yolk mixed in, so I’m glad I didn’t skip it. The blue Russian potatoes kept a hint of their color, which pleased me immensely. And, the Arzac egg was really quite simple. No broken yolks when I unwrapped the plastic cling!But, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried how this dish would turn out. In which case, I had a frozen pizza on standby! And, on a side note, the day I made this soup, the weather in Chicago had dropped in temperature to the mid-60s. So much for “warm weather”!

To see other bloggers’ warm weather vegetable pot au feu, head over to French Fridays with Dorie. As usual, the recipe for this dish can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours.

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46 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jessica
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 00:46:47

    Do the blue potatoes taste any different than normal colored ones?

  2. Maris (In Good Taste)
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 02:20:59

    I looked at the photos first and actually didn’t realize they were potatoes! Very cool!

  3. Adriana
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 04:18:12

    Yay for the ruffly (Arzac) eggs! I loved that technique. The potatoes look stunning. White fish must have been a great addition – good thing tilapia cooks in next to nothing. I had to LOL at the mention of your occupational hazard.

  4. Simply Life
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 05:52:40

    oh this is so fun!

  5. Jessica
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 07:17:13

    Wow- you just made anyone who loves veggies swoon and those who don’t you just converted them to veggie lovers! That dish looks and sounds fantastic!

  6. Linda
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 07:22:19

    Talk about colorful eating! Being someone who loves runny eggs, I like this idea!

  7. erica@fashionmeetsfood
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 07:24:50

    Looks like you ate the rainbow like they say you should. Looks delish!

    xo

  8. saffronandhoney
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 07:25:20

    This looks beautiful! I love all the thoughts that you put into this to make it that extra bit special – a job absolutely well done.
    A little too warm here for even the warm weather pot au feu :)

  9. Cher
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 07:31:27

    I had a chicken & rice ready to go because I wasn’t sure about the soup! The addition of fish sounds like a great plan. And isn’t the plastic wrap poaching method just a life-saver! It was my first poach and I felt so glad that it worked out.
    Love those veggies!

  10. Louise
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 07:55:17

    So much for “everything in the soup” which is my haphazard approach to brewing soup. Yours looks so festive and colorful. I applaud your concerted effort to get it just right. And that it is!!! It looks gorgeous and inviting. I’m definitely going to check out that egg method too.

    Thanks for sharing, Yummy…

  11. Ker-Yng
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 07:55:56

    I’m glad you found the soup delicious after all your efforts. It’s a great post, I find it very informational – purple asparagus loses their colour, there are Blue Russian potatoes, and making Arzac eggs!

  12. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 07:59:33

    That poached egg on the top is beautiful. And it looks like the fish is still juicy and didn’t just go to bits. Looks like a tasty success to me.

  13. Mary
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 08:14:35

    You make me laugh about over thinking the recipe – I tend to do that a lot and then get frustrated! BUT the soup looks beautiful and delicious- I think you’re great to figure it out the way you did!
    Mary x

  14. Ronda
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 08:29:30

    Minneapolis has been having weird-weather-wackiness too. I am glad it all worked out for you.

  15. Peggy
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 08:34:05

    I love all of your additions with this one! And your poached egg looks beautifully done =)

  16. pachecopatty
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 08:36:39

    I’ll have to lay in a stash of frozen pizza just in case we don’t like one of the FFWD recipes, so far we haven’t been disappointed. I think the fish is a good idea – goes perfect in the broth with the veggies. Your egg looks good, the yolk is such a bright yellow, love the organic eggs;-)

  17. Eileen
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 08:55:35

    I think i would have liked this better if I threw some fish in. It needed some type of meat to feel like a dinner. Good idea! I share your purple fixation. I bought purple carrots at my farmer’s market AGAIN last weekend, because I’m obsessed with them, and used them in this dish. I’m giddy every time they dye my food purple. It’s a little weird. lol

  18. Tricia S.
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 10:33:34

    Thanks so much for giving us the name of that egg wrapping technique- I definitely want to play around with that for my poached and runny egg loving family. I was very trepidatious as well, but luckily I was so late in preparing this that it didn’t end up for dinner :) Nana knew she would love this combo(and she did) but I was very surprised when my guys loved it as well. But I really want those little potatoes you got !!!!! Great post.

  19. Mary
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 10:58:14

    This looks different and delicious. I know I’d love to have a serving of it with my supper. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  20. Jessica of My Baking Heart
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 11:27:02

    I’ve never seen blue potatoes, but I bet they’re delicious. You put so much care into this soup – I’m glad it turned out well for you! :)

  21. Betsy
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 11:44:19

    What a pretty green bowl! All your veggies look so colorful and delicious. Love the idea of adding some fish fillet. Perfect idea!

  22. MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 12:49:28

    It is so disappointing when you take a lot of time to make a recipe and you try it and it’s good but it was just NOT worth the time…I hate when that happens :-/

    This soup looks super tasty. I love the idea of a poached egg and potatoes. May have to make a version of this sometime!

  23. Marcella
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 13:55:31

    I love your unusual veggies! Adding the fish is brilliant. My husband us generally less that thrilled with veggie meals and the fish would have made it more substantial for him. I’m filing that idea in my brain for future use.

  24. chunklet's mom
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 14:18:10

    this reminds me of the udon we just had at joy-yee’s (yum!), without the broth and the noodles i guess. It looks good!

  25. bhealthy
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 14:58:09

    i saw the photo and thought ” Is that an egg AND fish? I’m seeing fish right?”…. Glad it worked for ya! That tabouli on the last post looked awesome!

  26. Liz
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 15:31:01

    LOL about your thought process throughout this dish…but what a winner it turned out to be. I LOVE that you added fish…I chickened out on the egg (haha), but I’m intrigued by your new method…very cool! Nice job all around, my friend!

  27. Ameena
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 15:41:03

    I was served blue potatoes once and honestly, I thought they were bad so I didn’t eat them! Shows how ignorant I am.

    I can’t poach an egg either. I think I’m hopeless!

  28. Frankly Entertaining
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 15:55:27

    I can remember feeling your disappointment when I bought purple carrots. I couldn’t believe they lost their purple after being cooked! I might have to give those potatoes a try, though! I bet the fish made the whole meal a bit more hearty!

  29. Katie
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 16:42:23

    I need those potatoes in my life. Right now. How cool!

  30. Parsley Sage
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 16:53:56

    Girl, you like to make more work for yourself :) I think its worth it though because this soup looks fantastic. Well done!

  31. Elaine
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 17:40:59

    I love that you tried didn’t vegetables for taste and color. And what a great idea to add the fish!

  32. Elaine
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 17:41:37

    That was supposed to say “different”. It’s Friday…! (thankfully).

  33. Miss Anthropist
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 18:48:10

    They all look so great together!

  34. Cakelaw
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 19:00:50

    Love the arzac egg! Your soup looks great. I am rather haphazard with recipes I am not keen in – I just toss things in and hope for the best, so your thoughtfulness is admirable.

  35. torviewtoronto
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 19:48:21

    lovel the beautiful purple vegetables looks wonderful
    check out the event in my site
    http://torviewtoronto.blogspot.com/2011/05/food-palette-series-purple.html
    regards

  36. sara
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 20:23:37

    Looks delicious! I love those potatoes – so cool looking!!! I get annoyed too when veggies lose their pretty colors after getting cooked! Boo. ;)

  37. Grumpy Grateful Mom
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 22:51:39

    This dish is so beautiful. It makes me want to stock up on veggies. I’ve also never seen those potatoes. I guess Walmart doesn’t get too exotic. :)

  38. rebeccasubbiah
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 23:12:24

    cool, soup though a meal in a bowl wow you really thought it out good for you for trying new thing though

  39. jay
    Jun 04, 2011 @ 10:36:19

    colorful n healthy dear..:)

    Tasty Appetite
    Event: Letz Relishh Ice Creams

  40. Terra
    Jun 04, 2011 @ 14:18:44

    How interesting that the purple leaves the potoatoes…learn something new everyday! :-) This sounds like a fun, hearty warm dish. I like the idea of adding egg to the dish, it looks delicious:-)
    Hugs, Terra

  41. Candy
    Jun 04, 2011 @ 15:52:32

    Looks great! I think this would have been perfect in 60 degree weather!

  42. sonia
    Jun 04, 2011 @ 18:21:32

    Hi There, This is looking absolutely delightful. Loved the new combo of ingredients and the recipe is so nicely made and presented. Saving this recipe of urs and wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day….Sonia !!!

  43. Tanvi
    Jun 05, 2011 @ 02:50:25

    Poached eggs on top of veggies sound and look yum!! Love the colorful veggies here.

  44. Yuri
    Jun 05, 2011 @ 23:54:08

    I have veggie-envy with your purple potatoes and asparagus. I couldn’t even find regular asparagus here! I thought this was a great dish and loved the lemongrass/lime flavors. Agree with you, even tho the french name is translated as “stew” this was definitely a veggie soup :)

  45. Inger Wilkerson
    Jun 06, 2011 @ 08:02:42

    What great color! I made fried purple potatoes with scrambled eggs and found they turn the eggs green. The kids thought it was hilarius–very reminiscent of Dr Seuss! For a picture, see: http://artofnaturalliving.com/2010/11/16/green-eggs-and%e2%80%a6-purple-potatoes/

  46. Audrey Ellen @ My Scene and Herd
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 16:33:28

    Experiments, good or bad, are always worth doing! And yours looks fresh and delicious! I love interesting ways to serve veggies in the summer, salads and grilling are great but you can’t exist on that for four months straight! I plan to take a whack at this.

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