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Chef Nick Lacasse

Pure Kitchen Catering
451 N. Elizabeth
(312) 224-8277

Beef short rib French onion soup, with taleggio toast, pickled shallots, dried porcini
Yield: 4 large bowls

1 demi baguette
2 lbs. beef short rib, on the bone
3 quarts unsalted beef broth or chicken stock
6 Spanish onions, sliced thin
2 Tbs butter
2 cups red wine
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs dried porcini
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
4 Tbs taleggio
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, begin sweating onions with 1 Tbs butter on very low until very brown and mushy, about an hour, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, season and sear the beef on all sides and remove from pan. Pull a spoon full of the slow cooking onions from the other pan, and place on high heat in beef pan, 2 minutes. Pour off any excess grease from onions, and add the red wine and reduce to a tablespoon then add stock, turn to medium-low, replace beef into pot and let braise for 2 hours at 300 degrees. Cut the bread medium thick on a bias, season with olive oil, salt and pepper, toast in oven 5 mins. Remove beef from oven, and pull beef from braising liquid. Turn caramelized onion pot up to medium high, and add 1 T dried porcini, soy sauce, and strain braising liquid onto onions. Bring to simmer and turn off. Place chunks of the short ribs into 4 large bowls, and spoon over onions and broth. Top the toast with slices of taleggio, pickled shallot and sprinkle with dried porcini and thyme, broil for 1 minute, drop into soup, enjoy.

Meyer lemon-sunchoke soup, with herb-Serrano puree
Yield: 4 large bowls

3 lbs. sunchokes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 qt water
6 meyer lemons, juiced
6 sprigs mint
1 Serrano pepper, seeded
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 head roasted garlic

Peel and wash the sunchokes, place into pot with water and 1 Tbs salt, simmer 30 minutes, until mushy. Puree in blender with cooking liquid, reserving some liquid to preferred thickness. Puree with 3 Tbs lemon juice, 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, salt, roasted garlic cloves, white pepper, and adjust seasoning. set aside. In new blender, puree the mint leaves, cilantro, Serrano with 2 Tbs lemon juice, 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, salt, and a couple drops of water to get the puree moving.  Serve in hot bowls, spoon herb sauce over top of soup, and drizzle a little olive oil, enjoy.

Curried potato and spinach soup

4 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, rough chopped.
1 Spanish onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup chopped each: garlic, ginger
3 dried arbol chiles
2” piece fresh turmeric – grated
2 Tbs cumin seed
1 Tbs coriander
3 pods green cardamom
1 tsp fenugreek
2 cups heavy cream
4 cups vegetable stock
1# wilted spinach, chopped

Simmer the potatoes in the vegetable stock with 1 Tbs salt for 30 minutes. In second pot, toast the spices in a little oil until fragrant, add sliced onion, garlic, turmeric, ginger, arbol chiles, and sweat on medium low, stirring until soft. Add heavy cream and reduce cream by 1/2, about 10 minutes on medium low. Combine cream mix with potato mix and puree, first reserving a cup or so of the potato liquid, to adjust to desired thickness. Puree in blender, seasoning with salt pepper, olive oil or lemon juice. Stir in wilted spinach and serve hot, enjoy.