The Bread & Soup Project #10 – Australia

2016.Jan.05 Tuesday · 10 comments

in Food & Recipes, The Bread & Soup Project

australiasouprollTime for Round #10 of The Bread & Soup Project! So it seems that Australia, as a whole, just isn’t all that into soup. I checked in with friends, and my youngest brother, who live there, and the general consensus was, soup’s just not much of a thing. I broached the subject of the infamous “pie floater”, a meat pie nestled into a bowl of split pea soup. Now, I remember seeing it on menus in cafes when I was in Sydney back in the late 80s. I didn’t hit cafes on my return visit in 2002, so I can’t speak to whether it was still around. The internet seems to think it’s a major part of Australian cuisine, particularly in Adelaide and, to a lesser extent in Sydney. No one I checked in with even had any idea what it was.

The general feeling was that if there were to be a sort of national soup of Australia, it would have to be pumpkin. And a pretty simple, basic pumpkin soup, generally with a dollop of sour cream. The sort of thing to have on tap for a colder day, but otherwise not much thought about. On the other hand, there was no uncertainty when it came to the turnover-ish plate, it had to be a sausage roll. No one even hesitated in suggesting that. So, away we go…

australiaroll1Even the sausage roll doesn’t get all fancy with a bunch of different ingredients. There are plenty of recipes out there, but they all pretty much are just variations on what seems to be a core recipe – pork sausage meat, onion, garlic, basil, and chive.

australiaroll2Everything gets chopped up and then mixed together, and gets rolled in puff pastry (I used puff-style empanada dough here – I could have spent a couple of hours making traditional puff pastry, but, just not going there).

australiaroll3Then brushed with egg wash, and sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds and a little smoked paprika. Into the oven…

australiaroll4…and a half hour later, sausage rolls!

australiasoup1The soup requires even less work. “Japanese pumpkin”, or kabocha squash, we have here. I grabbed a half of one to make a smaller batch of soup.

australiasoup2My brother, who’s a trained chef as well, though he gave it all up to do something technology related that I don’t attempt to understand, suggested strongly that the squash be lightly charred before going into the pot – so, under the broiler it went, brushed with a little oil.

General agreement that the soup base has to be light chicken stock – I had a carcass in the freezer, tossed that in a pot with some leeks, celery, peppercorns, parsley, bay leaf, and salt, and let it simmer away in water for about half an hour – here’s clearly an area where you could have a strong influence on the final flavor of the soup, depending on what you put in your stock.

Sauteed some white onion, garlic, and a small, medium hot chili in butter – the chili doesn’t seem to be the norm, but does show up now and again, and, we need a little kick in our soups – I used an ají limo, basically the same heat level as a tabasco or cayenne chili. When soft and the onions had started to color, I added the lightly charred pumpkin, topped it off with strained chicken stock, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes together. Then pureed it smooth, ladled it into a bowl, and dropped a dollop of sour cream in it. Sausage roll on the side, sliced on the diagonal, because, like sandwiches, we all know diagonal tastes better.

Pretty good too. Not going to be one of my favorites, but not unhappy with it. And, surprisingly, Henry loved both, and especially the combination together.

Next round, Austria.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff January 5, 2016 at 22:10

I get a mention, even if not by name — fun project, but a long journey through the alphabet of soups (maybe for USA, a Chicken Alphabet Soup is in order to commemorate the project theme…?)

dan January 5, 2016 at 22:15

Yeah, the US, and a few other larger countries, are going to be interesting to try to select something that’s truly representative, let alone the alphabet theme. At least I probably have a few years until I get to it. I can add your name if you like…..

Mike January 6, 2016 at 01:08

Perhaps you’ll need to break the US and other big countries down by region — a nice gumbo for the south, a clam chowder for the northeast, etc.

dan January 6, 2016 at 01:12

Nope. I could end up doing that with any country – there are very few that are small enough that they don’t have regional culinary differences. This project is already long enough. Each country gets one shot.

Karin January 6, 2016 at 03:01

I’ll be interested to see what you choose Dan. I picture it bring Chicken Soup or Tomato Soup in the US. But I could be way off.

Can’t believe I’m saying this but I agree with Mike (I’ve made it a policy to disagree with him as often as I can). If you had the ability to go regional in US it’d be interesting.

Mike January 6, 2016 at 10:14

Dan, I like the winner-takes-all approach…just think I’d prefer to have write-ups on those that would likely win the regionals than the couple more likely to win the whole country — don’t need another chicken noodle soup recipe (even if the noodles can spell), and I’m not a fan of tomato soup (though the tomato soup w/grilled cheese bites does seem like America’s soup and bread trademark).

And Karin, you seem to be finding room to agree with me more often nowadays, which simply means your gaining wisdom in your old age (because I’m always right).

dan January 6, 2016 at 12:15

While I understand the desire, the same could be said about so many other countries that have multiple regional cuisines. I mean, what’s the national soup of France? China? Spain? Brazil? India? (and many more)

Rebecca January 23, 2016 at 20:02

This is making me homesick!! Where do I buy sausage meat in Buenos Aires??

dan January 24, 2016 at 10:06

You could just ask a local butcher to set some aside for you the next time they make sausages. Generally, I either make it myself, or, I buy sausages and strip the casings off of them – I’d say that what’s called the “salchicha parrillera” is probably closer to what you want than a chorizo (it’s long and thin and usually coiled, but the flavor is more like a good smoked sausage), but either will work.

Rebecca January 24, 2016 at 12:21

Thanks Dan!

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