Tired of winter’s gloomy frigid weather? And, tired of the same old comfort food? Chicken pot pie, mac ‘n cheese, chicken noodle soup… the list goes on. Avenue Restaurant’s Executive Chef Dominique Filoni creates a unique alternative to these cozy favorites with his delicious Chestnut Velouté, a savory soup that brings life to classic chestnuts – fusing onions, leeks, garlic, duck fat and smoky bacon in one enchanting bowl of savory goodness. Onions, leeks, and garlic are rendered in duck fat until translucent; chestnuts are then added along with smoky bacon and deglazed with cognac; chicken stock is added and simmered for 45 minutes.
It’s the perfect dish to heat up Jersey’s cold winter nights, but it’s also something really unexpected – with a rich and savory flavor you have to taste to understand. Velouté is one of the five classic mother sauces in French cuisine designated by renowned French chef/restaurateur Auguste Escoffier. And, for all you chocoholics out there, chocolate shavings are a garnish making the perfect final touch!
Chef Filoni’s knowledge of chestnuts goes back to his roots growing up on the Mediterranean in the region where chestnuts from Corsica are grown in abundance. His culinary education began at an early age cooking with his grandmother who used chestnut flour in many dishes because it was cheaper. Here he brings a touch of his heritage to the Jersey Shore with this unique flavorful use of chestnuts.
Chef Filoni’s Chestnut Velouté
Serving Size: 6
- 2 oz. duck fat
- 4.5 oz. onions, chopped
- 4 oz. white leek, chopped.
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and smashed.
- 2 oz. smoked bacon, chopped.
- 1 sprig fresh thyme.
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 2 pounds peeled chestnut, frozen will do fine
- ½ oz. sherry vinegar
- ½ oz. Cognac
- 1.25 quart of chicken stock
- ¼ quart milk
- 4 oz. butter
- In a medium sauce pan, heat the duck fat until hot.
- Add all the vegetables and the smoked bacon and cook, covered, until all the vegetables are translucent.
- Add the herbs and chestnuts and cook for about 4 minutes, pour in the vinegar, cook until evaporated. Repeat with the cognac; add the stock and the milk. Bring to a boil.
- Cook for 45 minutes on a slow simmer.
- In a high speed blender, puree the soup. Pass through a fine sieve if necessary.
- Reheat and whisk in the butter a little at a time and season to taste.
- It’s then pureed with cold cubes of butter and seasoned. Small pieces of brioche are cut and toasted, and bitter chocolate is grated on top.
A slow cooked, thin piece of bacon is put on top for garnish.
Recipe courtesy of Avenue Restaurant.
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