Ask a Chef: Kevin Archer
“How can I create a cream-free base for creamy soups and sauces?”
We asked Kevin Archer, who heads the Compassionate Cuisine program at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS) in Saugerties, N.Y., a haven for abandoned and abused farm animals; the program teaches how to avoid using animal products in the kitchen without skimping on nutrition or flavor. Here’s what he suggests.
â?¢ Cashews or almonds work in a variety of soups; pecans are especially suited to butternut squash soup. Use one part raw shelled nuts to three parts water or vegetable stock; grind the nuts in a high-speed blender, then add the liquid. Blend until completely liquid, with no pulp. Use in soup as you would any dairy or nondairy milk.
â?¢ Cut dense vegetables, such as potatoes, butternut squash, or celery root, into 1-inch pieces. Sauté in oil in large soup pot; add diced onion, followed by garlic and dried herbs, such as oregano or rosemary. Continue to sauté until the veggies soften. Run the mixture through a blender with just enough water or vegetable stock for the desired consistency; return to the soup pot an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
â?¢ The simplest method for producing a cream-style soup is to use coconut milk. For every 2 quarts of water or vegetable stock, add one can of coconut milk. The subtle flavor is perfect for cream of mushroom soup or tomato soup.March 2011 p.25