- 20111019 - Great Taste - Essential Kitchen Ingredient-Court Bouillon with Indian Hills Culinary Students

The ability to prepare a quick meal is not only a measure of kitchen skill and comfort, but many times comes down to what ingredients do you have in the fridge and pantry.  If you want to make a quick soup or coax flavors from veggies sautéing on top of the stove, then a court bouillon can help make that happen. Hearty winter soup"Court bouillon" or "briefly boiled liquid," is a mixture of water, salt, wine or vinegar, and vegetable aromatics, cooked together for 30-60 minutes...," according to Harold McGee, the author of On Food and Cooking.  One English reference from 1685 mentions a "courbolion" and this same type of liquid with basically identical ingredients has been used in French cooking for several centuries. 

Most of us are familiar with bouillon cubes, but court bouillon is much different.  It's simple to prepare and the culinary crew from Indian Hills will provide the instructions plus fix  some broccoli amandine using the liquid.

Court bouillon is an important ingredient to have available in the fridge or freezer since the weather is turning cooler and warm, hearty soups will become a staple menu item.  When your guests ask what gave the soup that rich depth of flavor you'll wow them with the answer, "Court bouillon."  Make certain to practice a French accent to accentuate the surprise that response will generate.

Returning from a weekend trip to Minneapolis, we enjoyed some nice food surprises.  The most unexpected was India Cafe in Bloomington.  Located in a strip mall with a tacqueria, a defunct Chinese joint, a pizza take-out, and an Asian grocery, this unassuming restaurant purports to have the best dishes representing both North and South India.  They use fresh-ground spices and some organic ingredients.  Everything we ate there was excellent.  The almond and cashew sauce served with one of the dishes was one of the most flavorful sauces I have ever eaten.  The paper dosa qualifies as the largest we have ever seen.Paper Dosa-India Cafe, Bloomington, MN

Another fun stop was at Lucia's in Uptown Minneapolis.  It's really three spots in a row-Lucia's To Go, a wine bar, and the restaurant.  Chef Lucia Watson has been supporting local growers for 25 years and you can find a wide range of all types of cuisine between the three places.  The highlights for me were a rich (say "cream") root vegetable soup and my first piece of pumpkin pie this fall.Pumpkin Pie-Lucias in Minneapolis

One other dish I recommend highly is the onion soup at Colette Bar and Bistro, the restaurant in the Sofitel Minneapolis.  For over 30 years this soup has been a standard.  What's particularly amazing about it is its richness derives from a vegetable-based stock rather than the traditional meat stock usually found in onion soups.

Wood-fired pizza at VesuviusFinally, if you are in the Ames, Iowa area, wood-fired pizza is excellent at Vesuvius.  The oven is cranking at a very high temperature so the pizzas are in, out and the crust nicely blistered in just about three minutes. 

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