As we enter the 6th, 7th—no wait, 8th—month of quarantine, you may be ready to chuck all of your pots and pans out the window. You’ve heard the words “unprecedented” and “social distancing” more times than you’d like to admit, and when it comes to the kitchen, it’s quite possible you never want to step foot in there ever again.
But we’re here to change your mind—at least for the time being. That’s because Jacques Pépin has released a cookbook geared toward easy and unfussy meals, proof that you don’t need expensive ingredients and difficult techniques to eat like a master chef. “Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple” is the much-needed balm for anyone struggling to come up with new, untapped ideas for dinner, a book that’s not only filled with readily achievable fare, but also includes the beloved chef’s very own original illustrations.
Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple, $21 on Amazon
With Jacques Pépin’s help, you can be well on your way to carve into chicken with vinegar and garlic, poached cod with black butter and capers, and orange cake with Grand Marnier sauce. He also includes recipes for meal staples—when you simply don’t have the time to run out to the grocery store—like spicy salsa, quick tomato sauce, and tapenade.
Below, Jacques Pépin shares an exceptionally easy mushroom soup—one that comes together in just 10 minutes. All you’ll need to do is get some color on the sliced mushrooms and leeks, then fill the soup pot with chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add in some cornmeal, which helps thicken the soup, and let simmer for just five minutes. At the last minute, toss in cream, salt, and pepper, then serve immediately with a final sprinkle of chives.
Excerpted from JACQUES PÉPIN QUICK & SIMPLE© 2020 by Jacques Pépin. Photography © 2020 by Tom Hopkins. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Mushroom Soup Recipe
If you use packaged sliced fresh mushrooms from the supermarket, this robust soup can be prepared in 10 minutes. The soup is thickened with cornmeal, which cooks quickly.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces cleaned mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 1 small leek, cleaned and sliced thin (about 1 cup), or 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
- 4 cups Basic Chicken Stock (page 15) or canned chicken broth
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal or yellow grits
- 1 cup light cream
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- Heat the butter in a large saucepan. When the butter is hot, add the mushrooms and leek and cook over high heat for about 3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Using a whisk, mix in the cornmeal. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the cream, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the chives.
Header image by Tom Hopkins.