Velouté is one of the five basic sauces of classic French cuisine (the others are Béchamel, Hollandaise, Sauce Tomate and Espagnol). It is based on a roux and has a velvety texture.
Nowadays, however, soups that are delicately creamy without using flour are also called velouté – and that’s what today’s recipe is about.
We choose a combination of black salsify and Brussels sprouts, but you can also use just one of the two vegetables. Of course, the recipe also works with other vegetables as long as they have a firm consistency. So all in all, this is a guide to cooking a velvety vegetable soup.
We wash the Brussels sprouts, cut the buds in half and remove the stalk in the form of a wedge. We also remove the outer leaf if necessary.
Then we dice a little shallot, mealy potato and celeriac. The vegetables will be pureed later, so the shape is not that important.
Black salsify is a delicious and often underestimated vegetable. However, cleaning them is a bit of a hassle. It is best to use a good vegetable peeler under gently running water. Gloves are recommended because the juice is very sticky.
The peeled salsify oxidise very quickly – similar to artichokes. You therefore have to put them immediately in water with lemon juice – or, as we prefer, in milk. Otherwise, they not only discolour strongly, but their delicate taste (which resembles white asparagus) also suffers significantly.
Now melt some butter over medium heat in a large saucepan….
…and sweat the shallot, potato, celery and Brussels sprouts in it for 10 – 15 min. The potato and celery later add creaminess to our velouté, the shallot adds flavour. The Brussels sprouts should be allowed to develop delicate roasted aromas – they may brown slightly.
When everything is intensely fragrant, we add the black salsify, which we have poured through a sieve.
We stir occasionally and let the vegetables sauté gently for another 10 min.
Then we add vegetable stock and cream and let everything cook on a low flame for about 20 minutes.
Important tools are a hand blender (or a mixer, but this is not a safe alternative with hot liquid) and a fine-mesh sieve – preferably a pointed sieve.
The soup is first thoroughly pureed and then strained through the sieve. The best way to do this is to use a ladle or wooden spoon and pass the soup through the sieve portion by portion so that most of the solid ingredients are filtered out. It may be necessary to rinse the sieve between the steps. In this way you will achieve a particularly silky consistency.
Then season carefully with a little salt and nutmeg. Cayenne pepper or piment d’Espelette add a little spiciness.
Finish the velouté with a little brown butter – to do this, heat some butter slowly over a medium heat until it starts to turn slightly brown and smells nutty (hence the name: beurre noisette).
And there you have it, a delicious and very fine, elegant vegetable velouté.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients ( for 4 people):
350 g each black salsify and Brussels sprouts
50 g each shallot, mealy potato and celeriac
900 ml vegetable stock
200 ml cream
50 g butter for sautéing and 50 g butter for the finish
Cayenne or Espelette pepper