My truffle soup adventure, and a great recipe to go with it
Something a bit different this time! Instead of making a family-sized portion of soup, I make enough to feed a village, or a Truffle Festival, anyway! The video shows my Truffle Soup Adventure, making 250 litres of soup to serve at a Melbourne festival celebrating the wonderful truffle.
Truffles are a fungus that grows underground in a symbiotic relationship with particular trees, often oak and hazel. They can’t be farmed like beans or carrots – there’s no seed, as such. In Europe, truffles are foraged in the wild; here in Australia, hopeful farmers purchase trees that are inoculated with the truffle fungus…and then they wait! If they’re lucky, truffles will eventually grow. Mature truffles are snuffled out by keen-nosed dogs or pigs and carefully plucked from the earth. They’re prized for their heady aroma and earthy, funky depth of flavour. If ever there was a food that’s worth a festival, it’s the truffle!
I make the soup in a commercial kitchen, the incredible FareShare charity kitchen, which makes 1 million meals a year for the needy. However, you probably don’t want to make 250 litres of soup, so I’m sharing the Thermo-friendly version – it’s where I tested my mega recipe anyway.
Leek, potato and truffle are a lovely combination and, even if you don’t have truffle, you will still be able to make a gorgeous soup without it. This recipe is vegan soup but you can add a little cream if you like – dairy does tend to help the truffle flavour carry.
Last year’s truffle dinner was so much fun (and so sold out!), so I’m returning to Massi Restaurant to partner with chef and restaurateur Joseph Vargetto again for an exquisite evening of truffle dishes, matched wines and lively truffle education!
Leek, Potato & Truffle Soup
Makes: 2 litres Time: 30 minutes
600 grams (21 oz) leeks (whole), white and light green part only, ie 300 grams (10.5 oz) trimmed leeks, roughly chopped 40 grams (1.5 oz) extra virgin olive oil 1/2 tsp flaked salt 700 grams (24.7 oz) unpeeled white potatoes, in 3cm cubes (see Tips) 10 grams (1 heaped teaspoon) vegetable stock paste 700 grams (24.7 oz) water 1 gram (0.035 oz) fresh truffle (see Tips) 10 grams (1-2 teaspoons) truffle oil, optional 1/2 tsp truffle salt, optional
1. Place leeks in mixing bowl and chop 2 sec/speed 7. Scrape down.
2. Add olive oil and salt. Cook 5 min/Varoma/speed 1.
4. Ensuring potatoes are soft, add truffle and blend for 1 min/speed 10, or until smooth.
5. Taste and adjust seasoning and truffle flavour. If desired, add truffle oil and truffle salt and stir through 10 sec/speed 8.
1. Chop leeks and place in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with olive oil and salt. Cook for 6 minutes, or until soft.
2. Add potatoes, stock paste and water (or simply use an equivalent amount of stock). Cook for about 30 minutes, until potatoes are soft, stirring every five minutes.
3. Use a stick blender to carefully blend soup until smooth. Grate truffle using a microplane and stir through.
4. Taste and adjust seasoning and truffle flavour. If desired, add truffle oil and truffle salt and stir through.
Are you wondering about those unpeeled potatoes? If you use white-skinned large potatoes you can get away without peeling them, especially when blending in a Thermomix. It’s a matter of preference though – by all means, peel your spuds if preferred.
Add a splash of cream, if desired. Dairy does tend to bring out the truffle flavour more.
My Mushroom Cappuccino is lovely with truffle – you see me make in the public cooking demo in the video!
I have more truffle recipes in my books; check them out here.
I travelled with Joseph Vargetto and the fine folk from his restaurants, Massi and Mister Bianco to Buxton Truffles in the Yarra Valley. There, truffle farmer Adrian Utter and his trusty spaniel told us all we need to know about truffle hunting. Check out the full story here.
More about this video
If you want to make 250 litres of soup, for a festival, let’s say, you’ll need 75 kg leek, 87.5 kg potatoes, 2.5 kg stock paste, 5 litres extra virgin olive oil and 250 grams truffle. Have fun!
Enjoy more truffle tales and ravishing recipes here.
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