RS Recommends: How to Make the Perfect Fall Soup

Culture

10/13/17

After a busy summer at Roger Smith Hotel, our intern—and chef extraordinaire—Simon is heading home to Denmark. But before he leaves, he’s sharing his pro-tips and a recipe for a perfect fall soup.

We’ll miss you, Simon!

 

Tell us about your background prior to the Roger Smith’s Management Trainee Program.

I’ve worked as a chef at various establishments, both in Denmark and Spain, including at Michelin-starred and most noteworthy, La Sucursal in Valencia, but I wanted to move on and add a hospitality management degree to my resume. The degree program also required at least 3 months of hands-on experience in the hotel industry. When the opportunity arose to join Roger Smith’s managerial program here in New York, I of course couldn’t decline!

Let’s go back to the beginning, what is your fondest memory of the kitchen as a young boy?

I’m not sure of any specific moment in the kitchen per se, but I do remember the contrast between my parents’ cooking, which was a deciding factor to enter culinary school after high school. My mother’s cooking was, and still is awful (sorry mom!). A lot of frozen vegetables and no real desire for actually cooking a meal, more a chore that had to be finished. My father on the other hand was very much into cooking, and would take pride in creating a meal and choosing different food and exploring. That skillset really fascinated me—that, and the fact that I wanted to be able to cook better food than my mother pushed me into the kitchen.

What is it about working with food do you find most exciting?

Its ability to be a universal language! No matter where you go in the world and how different we all are, food will always be a building bridge. I love the endless possibilities of creation, the way you can immerse into a specific thing, style, region, and technique, and then make it yours.

You are quite the world traveler. Are there any places you’ve been where you’ve discovered a surprising ingredient that’s intrigued you?

Tokyo! Without any doubt one of the craziest places—and in such a good way—not only food-wise but on every parameter. It’s a place with so much emphasis on technique, old traditions and craftsmanship.The way they use umami in the kitchen and a different approach of salting through soy-based products, is something I have adapted very heavily.

Who are the New York chefs that inspire you at the moment? What are they doing that you think is particularly interesting?

For me the true legend and my role model for good and bad, will always be Anthony Bourdain. Even though he is not a NYC-based chef anymore, he still deserves recognition for his no bull-shit approach to food. Also, David Chang is someone I follow a lot. The way he’s mixed American and Korean/Asian food, and his whole Momofuku concept is really exciting.
Last but not least I follow Ronny Emborg closely. A fellow Dane, he’s in charge of Atera here in NYC and bringing his unique style from Copenhagen to the Big Apple.

Is there one dish that you’ve had in the last few months that sums up your experience in NYC?

I went to this amazing Jewish deli in Greenpoint, Frankel’s Delicatessen. The sandwiches really hit me, Holy F! They were just so well-made and the meat had real craftsmanship to it.

Can you describe your style of cooking?

On paper you would probably describe it as a mix of Nordic- and French- styled cooking, but in reality I mix as many genres as possible. I cook for the ultimate taste. I do have a soft spot for Asian cuisine. Furthermore I’m a firm believer in cooking with local and seasonal ingredients, using what’s around you and near you, in your gardens and forest.

What are your tips for seasonal cooking?

Ask your local vegetables pusher, your local fish guy or your butcher about what’s in season and what’s local. Be curious and get out of the routine of just grabbing something from the counter at Trader Joe’s.

What elements do you think are most important when creating a menu for entertaining at home?

Think about how the different taste palates complement each other, like salt and sweet. Think about how different consistencies can affect the dish: do we have a crispy part, a creamy part? How is the color of the dish—is it very colorful or not? The visual representation makes up for a lot more than you would think and this goes for a professional kitchen as well.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the recipe you’ve shared with us here?

For me fall is soup and pumpkin. Because the weather is getting colder, you need warm and healthy food to keep you through the darker days. Soup doesn’t have to be boring or bland. You can do almost anything with it, and there are endless ways of spicing it up, making it fancy and elegant.

garnish on pumpkin fall soup

Healthy Butternut squash soup with miso, fermented cabbage, bacon and cilantro-relish

Ingredients:

For soup
1 whole butternut squash
1 carrot
3 cloves garlic
1 string celery
1 white onion
12 cups organic chicken bone broth (store bought, but can be homemade as well)
1 tomato
3 tbsp red miso paste
1 tbsp red thai curry paste
1 tbsp sweet and spicy thai sauce
5 tbsp grated smoked white cheese, eg. Swiss cheese (any kind will do)
1 ¼ cups sour cream
3 tbsp of rice vinegar
1 ¼ cups heavy cream

For bacon bits
5 pieces of dry-aged bacon (or regular bacon)
1 tablespoon mirin (cooking sake)
2 tbsp white sesame seeds

For cilantro relish
Handful cilantro
5 strings scallion

For crispy chickpeas

1 can garbanzo beans
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp fine sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pinch sea salt

For fermented cabbage (kimchi)
1 lb Napa cabbage
1tbsp sea salt
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch of ginger, grated
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sriracha sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp golden caster sugar

Soup
Rinse and peel vegetables (leave tomato & celery unpeeled), chop into smaller pieces.
Take a large soup pot and add the broth, put to boil.
Add everything besides cream & cheese after 30 mins.
Add cream after 40 mins and cook until vegetables are tender.
Blend with immersion blender until smooth. Add more cream or water if too thick.

Bacon bits
Cut bacon into thin pieces and add mirin and sesame seeds to baking tray.
Bake in the oven until dark brown at 350 Fahrenheit and stir occasionally (approx. 20 min)

Cilantro relish
Wash cilantro and scallions thoroughly.
Chop everything into a fine relish, and mix

Crispy chickpeas
Drain chickpeas from liquid.
Mix onion powder, chili powder, sugar and oil
Add garbanzo beans
Broil in oven at 375 Fahrenheit until crispy (approx 45-60 mins)

Kimchi
Slice the cabbage into 1 inch strips.
Tip into a bowl, mix with sea salt, then set aside for 1 hr.
Blending garlic, ginger, fish sauce, sriracha sauce, sugar and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.
Rinse salted cabbage under cold running water, drain and dry thoroughly.
Transfer to a large bowl and toss with paste.
Finally, serve immediately or pack into a large jar, seal and leave to ferment at room temperature overnight, and then chill

Kimchi can keep in the fridge for up to two weeks so the flavor improves the longer it sits.

To serve:

Serve the soup hot, topped with bacon bits, cilantro relish, chickpeas and kimchi.

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