Method.—Place a few peas aside to be used as garnish, put the remainder into the boiling stock, add the spinach, parsley, mint and onion, and boil gently until the peas are tender. Rub the whole through a wire sieve, re-heat, season to taste, add the cream and the whole peas, which must have been previously cooked, make thoroughly hot, and serve.
Time.—From ¾ to 1 hour. Average Cost, from 1s. to 1s. 3d., exclusive of the stock. Sufficient for 6 or 8 persons. Seasonable in summer.
113.—CHESTNUT SOUP (Fr.—Purée de Marrons.)
Ingredients.—2 pints of white stock, 1 pint of milk, 1½ pints of chestnuts, 1 oz. of butter, 1 dessertspoonful of flour, 2 tablespoonfuls of cream, sugar, salt and pepper.
Method.—Cut off the tops of the chestnuts and roast or bake them for 20 minutes, then take off the outer and inner skins. Put the stock, chestnuts, salt and pepper into a stewpan and simmer until tender (about 45 minutes), then rub through a fine sieve. Return to the stewpan, add the milk, and boil up. Knead the butter and flour together, add the mixture to the soup, and stir until it becomes smoothly mingled with it. Season to taste, add the cream and a good pinch of sugar, and serve.
Time.—1½ to 1¾ hours. Average Cost, 1s. 10d. Seasonable from November to January. Sufficient for 6 persons.
The Chestnut (Fr.: Marron), which belongs to the order Cupuliferae, is allied to the beech. The common sweet, or Spanish chestnut, is supposed to have been introduced into Sardinia from Sardis in Asia Minor, of which it is probably a native, and has long been naturalized in Europe; the Romans are said to have brought it into Britain, where it is now widely distributed. The chestnut attains a great size and age, and its large serrated dark leaves form a pretty object in parks and the open country. As an article of food the chestnut is the least oily and most farinaceous of all the nuts, and for this reason is the most digestible. It was much eaten by the Romans, and is still commonly used as a comestible, both raw and roasted, in France and Italy. The wood of the chestnut-tree, although inferior to the oak, which it much resembles in appearance, when old is used for various purposes. The horse-chestnut, the fruit of which is similar to the edible chestnut, is quite a different tree, and has no connexion with the genus Castanea, to which the Spanish chestnut belongs.
114.—COCOANUT SOUP. (Fr.—Potage au Noix de Coco.)
Ingredients.—2 quarts of second stock, 4 ozs. of grated cocoanut, preferably fresh, 2 ozs. of rice flour, 2 tablespoonfuls of cream, mace, salt and pepper.
Method.—When desiccated cocoanut is used it should be previously soaked for 2 or 3 hours in a little of the stock. Boil the stock, add a small blade of mace and the cocoanut, and simmer gently for 1 hour. Mix the rice flour smoothly with a little stock, boil the remainder, add the blended rice flour, and stir and boil gently for about 10 minutes. Season to taste, stir in the cream, and serve.