Renowned Atlanta chef and cookbook author, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker who has worked with such celebrity chefs, restaurateurs, and culinary instructors such as Chef Marvin Woods, who was the first Chef tapped by First Lady Michelle Obama to start the Let’s Move! Campaign, Tyler Florence, Bobby Flay, Paula Deen, Giadia Laurentis, Patrick and Gina Neely, and Mario Batali, has just released a cookbook entitled, Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent, on September 1st 2014 by Pelican Publishing. The cookbook is available at Amazon, Pelican Publishing, and also in book stores nationwide.
This unique regional cookbook with a French twist will tell the story of a classically French trained chef embracing her Southern roots and realizing that both her European training and Mississippi heritage is what makes her the talented chef that she is. Building a culinary foundation on her farm roots and a farm-to-table concept, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker creates a unique take on contemporary Southern cooking. Combining agrarian approaches and down-home style with classical-French techniques, Booker reinvents Southern cuisine. This unique cookbook is a delicious blend of 135 family recipes with unique stories recounting spending time on her family farm, learning to garden, raise chickens, hogs, and cattle, going hunting and fishing, making sausage, canning, and preserving and are the culmination of summers and holidays spent in Charleston, Mississippi, at the family farm.
For both the novice and experienced cook, Booker has the perfect recipe to satisfy your nostalgic taste buds. With chapters devoted to everything from breakfast foods to vegetables to pork dishes, Booker presents a fresh and versatile perspective on contemporary Southern food. From comforting Cracklin’ Bread and flaky Buttermilk Biscuits to elegant Winter Pumpkin Soup and innovative Fig Stuffed Chicken Livers, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker will introduce you to an array of recipes that use French techniques to elevate familiar Southern flavors.
Any type of winter pumpkin or squash, such as Sugar Pie pumpkin or butternut squash, can be used for this soup. Just remove the seeds, cut it into wedges, drizzle with olive oil, and roast in a 350° F oven. The roasting softens the vegetable and reinforces its natural sweetness. The addition of stock and cream gives the soup a velvety smoothness, and the croutons and bacon chips add a nice crunch.
Winter Pumpkin Soup with Parmesan Croutons & Bacon Chips
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 slices of Hickory smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch strips
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 medium white onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups roasted pumpkin, mashed, or unsweetened pumpkin puree
- 2 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups stale bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1⁄4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a large stockpot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bacon and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, then add the rosemary and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes, or until the bacon is golden and crispy and the rosemary leaves are lightly browned.
Drain the bacon and rosemary on a paper towel. Remove the rosemary leaves from the stems and roughly chop the leaves, discarding the stems. Set the rosemary aside. Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease from the stockpot. Set the bacon chips aside while you make the pumpkin soup.
Add the butter, onion, and garlic to the bacon grease in the stockpot and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir often to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mashed pumpkin and the chicken stock, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream just before you serve; do not let the soup boil once the cream has been added.
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
To make the parmesan croutons, toss the bread, olive oil, cheese, chili flakes, and black pepper together in a large bowl. Spread the bread mixture onto a sheet pan and bake 5 to 6 minutes, or until the bread cubes are golden brown.
Serve the soup in warm bowls topped with croutons, bacon chips, and the chopped rosemary.
With permission from Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent by Jennifer Hill Booker, © 2014
Photo provided by Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.