Eddoe and other new items

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Over the last few weeks, I decided that I want to try as many new foods as possible, whether it be something I’ve never eaten before, or something I haven’t tried to use/prepare on my own. Here’s what I have brought home so far:

Eddoe

Eddoe is a tropical root vegetable, closely related to taro. It isn’t a good looking item. It’s small and hairy looking, at least the ones I picked up. In Spanish-speaking countries, it’s known as malangas. I was at the grocery store, looking at the eddoe and thinking that it would be so helpful if stores provided little write-ups about unusual produce. I quickly looked it up on my phone and when I saw the description as being a taro variety, I decided it was worth a try. I was going to roast it with my beets, but I didn’t really know how to work with the eddoe and my beets were all ready to go into the oven. I figured that the outter hairiness should probably get removed, so I peeled them and threw them into boiling water. Hubby and I ended up eating it like potato. We sliced it in half, spread a little bit of duck fat and sprinkled some smoky salt on it. Do I like it more than potato? It’s different. The texture is thicker and starchier, like taro. The flavour is also not of potato, but it’s still mild. I’ve ready that you can indeed roast eddoes, and like potato, you can also mash it.

Sweetsop

Known as the sugar apple, the first time I actually tried this was at my in-laws’ house. They didn’t know the western name, but it translated to Western Lychee. The outside is rough, but the fruit is not hard. The inside is fleshy, creamy and sweet, with many large, black seeds. Some describe the taste as a cross between a pear and a coconut. Apparently, sweetsop is one of the few fruits that contain protein. It provides a good supply of vitamin C and it slows down the absorption of sugar in the body. I’ve actually planted one of the seeds. I wonder what, if anything, will start growing.

Leeks

I know what leeks are, but I’ve never cooked with them before. Last week, I decided to give it a go and I used it to make a potato leek soup.

  • 1 large leek
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 4+ sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 5 cups no-salt chicken stock
  • 1lb white and yellow potatoes
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 2 Tbsp snipped chives
  • truffle oil to finish

Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside.

Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni,chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.

Remove the bouquet garni and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. (Alternately, if you own an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot.) Stir in the creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.

Original recipe is here.

I was rushing off to class, so after I had puréed the soup, I left it at that. I did not add the milk until after I got home and re-boiled the base. Hubby liked the soup, but felt that I should add more leek next time. I also made the bouquet garni. It seemed intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite simple once I looked it up online. Before filling the bowls, I added pieces of cooked bacon to the bowl. I’m sure using heavy cream would have made the soup taste even better, but when you look at the calories for the soup, it’s scary. I drizzled some truffle oil before serving. Yum!

Celery root

I usually add chopped celery stalks to my spicy chicken soup, but this time, I decided to try flavouring it with celery stalk. I simply peeled and chopped up the root and threw it in the pot. It’s starchy so it would be a great root to puree, but I wasn’t looking for a creamy soup. For my spicy chicken soup, I think I’ll stick to the stalks. I like the added soft crunch texture. Maybe next time I will make a potato, celery root, leek soup…

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