Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Potage Jubilé

Today, June 20th

The young Queen Victoria ascended to the throne on this day in 1837, and it proved to be the first day of an extraordinarily long reign. Victoria occupied the throne of England for sixty-three years and seven months, which meant that she celebrated three jubilees: Silver Jubilee in 1862, Golden Jubilee in 1887, and her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

The word “jubilee” has a Jewish heritage, and comes from the name of a ram’s horn used as a trumpet. The the word “jubilant” obviously comes from the same root, and would have aptly described the mood of Her Majesties subjects had she fulfilled the obligations required under the original definition of the word “jubilee”. The OED gives this as:

“A year of emancipation and restoration, which according to the institution in Lev. xxv was to be kept every fifty years, and to be proclaimed by the blast of trumpets throughout the land; during it the fields were to be left uncultivated, Hebrew slaves were to be set free, and lands and houses in the open country or unwalled towns that had been sold were to revert to their former owners or their heirs.”

It is doubtful if much emancipation and property restoration happened anywhere in Her Empire during any of Her Jubilees, but there is no doubt that may dishes bear the name “jubilee’. Not all were invented for Her special days of course, many organisations and individuals have celebrated their 50th anniversaries with a new dish. The famous Escoffier gives a recipe for Potage Jubilé and it seems likely that it might have been in Victoria’s honour. It is a very elegant take on pea soup, and here it is.

Potage Jubilé (Pea soup with quenelles of chicken)

1. Purée de pois frais.
This can be made in two ways:
(i)2 lb garden peas, white stock.
Cook the peas quickly in boiling salted water, strain and rub the peas through a fine sieve. Return the purée to the pan and add some white stock.
In this way the purée has a good colour.
(ii)2 lb garden peas, 3 oz. butter, 1 small lettuce, pinch sugar, 2 spring onions, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ pint water.
Put all the ingredients together and cook until the peas are tender. Rub through a fine sieve. Return the purée to the pan, add some white stock and bring to boiling point.
In this way, the purée is less bright in colour but has a more delicate flavour.
In both cases add 2-3 oz butter before serving and a little chopped chervil or mint.

2. Fine forcemeat of chicken with cream.
1 lb boned young chicken, 1 level teaspoon salt, very small pinch white pepper, 2 egg whites, 1 – 1 ¼ pints fresh thick cream.
Pound chicken in a mortar with seasoning. Add the egg-whites slowly then rub through a fine sieve. Put into a flat dish and leave on ice for at least 1 hour. Then stir in the cream very gently and keep on ice until required for use.

Preparation of Quenelles.
These are shaped in a spoon or ladle, in various sizes, put into a buttered fireproof dish and carefully covered with boiling white stock or simply with salted boiling water. Cover the dish and allow the quenelles to poach ofr 10-12 minutes on the corner of the stove. Above all, do not let the liquid boil, the quenelles should poach very gently.

Tomorrow’s Story …

Solstice Syrups.

Quotation for the Day …

Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish. Louis P. De Gouy, The Soup Book (1949)


Lapinbizarre said...

What was this late Victorian thing with quenelles? I was rooting around Lady C of P's book a few days back when I was doing the potted salmon recipe & there seemed to be quenelle recipe's everywhere. Just dipped into the online version of the 1861 Household Management, and they don't seem to be in evidence at that date. Incidentally, Mrs. B's recipe for potted salmon seems preferable to Lady C's (not that I plan to do either of them again). Roger

The Old Foodie said...

I dont know - something about that whole Golden Age dining stuff I think. I must check to see what else they are called.