What to eat when it’s too hot to cook?
Unusually hot summer weather makes cooking – and even eating – a real chore: your appetite isn’t the same when it’s 100°F (38°C) outside.
The French get around this situation by having on hand chilled soup recipes. They use them as a main course instead of a starter when the temperature skyrockets. With a salad as a starter and a chilled soup as a main course, you have a whole meal.
The world-famous French Vichyssoise chilled soup is one of my favorites. But there’s another French chilled soup recipe I like equally well and which supposedly celebrates its anniversary every year on August 26th: “Velouté à la Crécy” or “Potage de Crécy” or simply “Potage Crécy.”
The carrots grown in Crécy-en-Ponthieu in Northern France are thought to be among the best. That’s why a carrot soup recipe often carries the name of this region, even though the carrots might not be from there. However, there is another Crécy located to the east of Paris, Crécy-la-Chapelle, also known for its carrots.
Somehow this “Potage de Crécy” recipe traveled across the English Channel and became part of the national folklore in England. A tradition dating back to the 14th century states that loyal Britons should have carrot soup, or “Potage de Crécy,” on the anniversary of the Battle of Crécy (August 26th, 1346) to honor the British victory there.
Though heavily outnumbered, the English beat the French in this legendary battle during which both monarchs ( Edward III and Philippe VI) were present and active. It marked the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War and the return of a traditional archery technique.
Were British soldiers fed with the carrots from the region where the battle took place? No one is certain.
But enough history, let’s battle the heat instead.
Potage Crécy Chilled Soup Recipe
For 6 servings of 1 cup each
- 2TB butter
- 1 onion
- 1 leek
- 1 1/2 lbs of carrots
- 1 large potato
- 1 clove of garlic
- 4 c. of chicken stock
- 1/4 tsp of pepper
- 1 tsp of tomato paste
- 1/4 c. of creme fraiche or heavy cream
- 1 pinch of nutmeg (optional)
- salt to taste
- chives (about 4 stems)
-Peel the potato and carrots. Dice the potato and slice the carrot in rounds
-Wash and chop the leek
-In a soup pot, melt the butter.
-Add the vegetables and sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes
-Add a dash of salt and the pepper
-Add the chicken stock and let simmer covered for 30 minutes
-Wash and chop the chives (or parsley if you prefer)
-Blend the soup with an immersion blender
-Add the tomato paste, nutmeg, and cream
-Let cool, then chill in the refrigerator and serve sprinkled with chives.
This recipe can be served hot or cold, so it’s useful year-round.
To make fresh soup whenever you want, without the need to plan and wait, here’s a handy gadget from Philips: It has 6 soup programs for cold, chunky, or pureed soups and can be used to make smoothies or as a countertop blender:
I also like that this Philips Soup and Smoothie Maker comes with a recipe book and tips!
Having chilled soup recipes on hand is a great technique to get around a summer heatwave when you don’t feel like eating hot food. Chilled soups are usually served in France as starters to a meal.
During unusually hot weather, try serving a salad as a starter and chilled soup as a main course for an easy, healthy, and delicious meal without hot food.
This chilled soup recipe commemorating an English victory during the 100 Years’ War will definitely help you fight the summer heat. It can be served either hot or cold, so it’s a helpful recipe to have on hand year-round.
And now you: What recipes are in your arsenal when the temperatures skyrocket? Let me know!
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Photo courtesy of Cayla1 on Unsplash