Cyberchef Special: Rossini at the Ritz
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The Menu
Pheasant Soup "Ombrette Sdegnosa" with Chestnuts and Truffles
(serves 4)


1 small hen Pheasant
2 Carrots
1 Leek (white part only)
2 Onions
1 sprig of Celery
200g Chestnuts
20cls fresh Cream
10g Truffles
Salt, Pepper


Peel, clean and cut in half the carrots, leek, celery and onions and place in 2 litres of lightly salted water. Bring to the boil, then add the pheasant and allow to cook for 20 minutes. Take out the pheasant, remove the breasts and wings. These should be wrapped in foil and kept warm. Return the carcass and rest of the pheasant to the stock and simmer gently until the latter has reduced to about 1 litre.

Split the skin of the chestnuts with a knife and boil for 10 to 15 minutes in salt water. Peel thoroughly, removing both inner and outer skins. Set aside 2 chestnuts per serving and purée the rest. (Tinned or cooked vacuum-packed chestnuts, available in some supermarkets, can be used if fresh chestnuts are not available).

Skim the fat off the stock, strain and bring back to the boil. Heat the cream. Place the chestnut purée in a hot bowl, pour on the stock, mixing thoroughly, add the hot cream and blend. Adjust the seasoning.

Cut the pheasant breasts, remaining chestnuts and the truffles into small cubes and place in the heated soup plates. Pour on the soup and serve immediately.

Soups were a frequent item on any 19th century menu and they seem to have been fairly high up on the list of Rossini's preferred dishes. This recipe was originally intended for snipe, but in view of current protection of this species, we opted for pheasant, which works just as well.

Chestnuts, too, were a frequent ingredient in all sorts of dishes in the 19th century. The blend of the chestnuts with the cream, gives this soup a wonderfully smooth velvety texture, which reveals the full delicate flavours of the pheasant and the truffles.

Choosing a wine to go with this soup can be a lot of fun. We found that a Madeira was an excellent match.


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