Recipes Inspired by Musicals: La Boheme

Saturday, March 22, 2014
I wasn't sure if I could count La Boheme as a musical. It is, after all, an opera - possibly the most tragic and romantic opera ever written. But I'm including it here because Andrew and I saw it performed on Broadway, and because it was nominated for seven Tony Awards in 2003 (including Best Revival of a Musical). And mostly because I set the rules on this blog, and I'm calling it a musical.

The great Baz Luhrmann brought La Boheme to Broadway after a popular run in his hometown of Sydney, Australia. The story is simple. Rodolfo and Mimi, poor bohemians living in Paris, fall in love. They decide to live together, but are torn apart by Rodolfo's jealousy. Mimi moves out and becomes terminally ill with consumption. She and Rodolfo are reunited one last time; they remember their happy moments, and she dies. The show ends with Rodolfo calling her name in grief and throwing himself upon her dead body.

Even by operatic standards, that's a lot of sorrow.

Leek and potato soup is a French classic, and it's as beloved by the wealthy (who might call it vichyssoise) as the poor (for whom the ingredients would be simple and affordable). Whether it's eaten warm or cold, this soup will appeal to the bohemian - or the aristocrat - in all of us.

Leek and Potato Soup
(from Around my French Table, by Dorie Greenspan)

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large onion, preferably Spanish, chopped
2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and thinly sliced
salt
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, split lengthwise, washed and thinly sliced
1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
6 thyme sprigs
2 fresh sage leaves (optional)
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups milk

Optional toppings: minced fresh parsley, sage, tarragon or marjoram; grated parmesan; grated gruyere

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or soup pot over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir until they glisten with butter, then season with salt. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onion is soft but not browned.

Add the remaining ingredients, along with a little more salt, increase the heat, and bring to a boil. As soon as the soup bubbles, turn the heat to low, mostly cover the pot, and simmer gently for 30 to 40 minutes. Taste the soup and season generously with salt.


You can eat the soup as is, or puree with a blender until smooth or semi-smooth. (If you choose to do the latter, I highly recommend using an immersion blender. There are few tragedies worse than a soup-in-the-blender tragedy.)

30 comments:

bamskitchen said...

La Boheme is one of my favorite operas. I love the first half of the opera and I always cry during the last half. Love a good leek and potato soup a great culinary meeting point between winter and spring.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Love potato leek soup. Will have to try this once I start cooking more. Right now I'm finishing cleaning my basement.

Joanne said...

If it was on Broadway it definitely counts as a musical!! Love this comfort-full soup!

Valerie Gamine said...

Beth, I have never had the pleasure of seeing La Boheme but for some reason someone bought me soundtrack (with Luciano Pavarotti) when I was in highscool. It's achingly beautiful, even when one can't comprehend the words. Someday I shall see it in person. :)

Lovely soup! It's always bliss to see one of Dorie's recipes.

bakewithjill.com said...

This sounds delicious. I need to open up that cookbook more often!

Kathy said...

I love Leek and Potato soup…When we were in Ireland just about every pub had their own version…and I never tried one I didn’t love.

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

Oh, this soup sounds SO lovely - right up my alley!

vanillasugarblog said...

Do you know, here on cape cod, we are getting more snow AND it's still cold?
30 degrees cold, more soup needed.
FYI I know you write children's books, my friend just wrote "Mystery of Eagles Nest" by tamra wight. If you're ever looking for book recs for your teaching classes.

I Wilkerson said...

Your soup looks great! I do a potato leek soup with spinach which shouldn't be pureed due to the spinach. When I tried that, the kids started calling it Cream of Pond Scum soup...

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, we love Giacomo Puccini and La Bohème - Dorie Greenspan´s "Around my French Table" and Leek and Potato Soup - perfect! Your soup looks absolutely delicious!

Belinda said...

Now that's a classic musical (as is this soup!)

Chris Scheuer said...

I love potato soup and love that you've connected it with La Boheme, makes it quite romantic!

Liz Berg said...

You can't go wrong with a Dorie Greenspan recipe and your soup looks fantastic!

Ruth Schiffmann said...

I'm trying to change things up lately - experiment with adding some new recipes to the usual rotation. Think I'll bookmark this. Thanks, Beth =)

nancy at good food matters said...

It is supposed to be spring here, but with snow showers this morning, it makes this soup look all the more enticing. Leek and potato, potato-leek--I love this soup in all forms.

Caroline Taylor said...

Can't go wrong with leek and potato soup. Lovely.

grace said...

you know, i don't think i've ever eaten a leek, at least not knowingly. this soup looks just glorious.

Elzbieta Hester said...

I'm inspired! The soup looks lovely smooth! :) ela

Kitchen Riffs said...

Such a great soup! I love its classic flavor. And it's perfect for La Boheme. And maybe it's not really a musical, it's got such great music. Besides, it's your blog, so what you say goes!

Guru Uru said...

I am so in love with La Boheme and this soup, so it goes perfectly together :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Katerina said...

I love La Boheme, I saw it many times in our opera house. It is a true passionate opera with beautiful songs and a strong theme. This French potato and leek soup matches perfectly!

Daniela Grimburg said...

Love the idea of recipes inspired by musicals.
I'm sure Mimi and Rodolfo would have loved this tasty soup!
Have seen la Boheme a few month ago in Vienna with Ana Netrebkov as Mimi, a true feast for opera and musical :) lovers.

Juliana Levine said...

La Boheme...such a beautiful opera...I have seen a few times and enjoyed every time...
Like how you describe and paired the opera with the soup...indeed a great combo.
Hope you are enjoying your week Beth :D

kirstenlopresti said...

This looks delicious!

lisa is cooking said...

Leek and Potato Soup is one of Kurt's favorites, and I don't make it often enough. This one sounds lovely with the thyme and sage!

Velva said...

Leek and potato soup definitely a French classic-As well as the opera(broadway) show La Boheme. Thanks for sharing!

Happy spring.

Velva

Jemi Fraser said...

I've been making tons of soup lately - have to try this one next!! :)

Denise Covey said...

I love Baz. He's a genius. Love the look of that soup too. Thanks!

Patty Price said...

Hi Beth!
Love the name Rodolfo ;)
I've made this recipe with the FFWD group so I know it's very good!
I'm a lover of classics, books, plays, soups-all good ;-)

Claudia said...

One of my favorite soups. My daughter asks for this on her birthday - even though leeks are out of season. And my mother's favorite opera - grew up hearing this in the background. Perfect posting!

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