Cold Bouillon with Barley, Milk Curds, and Young Swiss Chard
Chef Michel Bras of Bras – Laguiole, France
Adapted by from Essential Cuisine by Michel Bras (Ici La Pr, 2002)
May 2010
Yield: 4 Servings


Barley Bouillon:
1 cup finely chopped onions
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup pearl barley
1 quart water
3 cloves garlic
2 ounces fennel bulbs
2 ounces celery stalks
1½ teaspoons salt

Milk Curds:
1¼ cups unpasteurized milk
1 teaspoon rennet

Swiss Chard:
4 young Swiss chard stalks

1 large sweet red pepper

4 slices country bread
Ham fat

To Assemble and Serve:
Sea salt
Huile rance (recipe on page 259 of Bras’ cookbook)

For the Barley Bouillon:
Sweat the onions in the butter. Add the barley and cook until it has a pearly gloss. Add the water and garlic, and simmer, covered, until done, about 45 minutes. Add water if necessary. Remove from the heat and add the fennel and celery. Season with salt and let stand, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the fennel and celery, check the seasoning, and set aside in a cool place.

For the Milk Curds:
Warm the milk to about 98°F, stir the rennet into some water, and add it to the milk, whipping the milk 2 or 3 times to mix it thoroughly. Pour into a container and set aside. The milk will separate into curds and whey. (You can also get curds from a cheese store.)

For the Swiss Chard:
Clean and trim the bottom part of the stalks. Cook the leaves quickly in salted boiling water and cool in iced water.

For the Pepper:
Roast the pepper in a 350°F oven. Peel it delicately and finish the drying process in a 300°F oven. Stem and seed the pepper and cut it into strips. Put in a dish, cover with oil, and set aside.

For the Toast:
Toast the bread. Top with thin slices of fat taken from a big ham.

To Assemble and Serve:
Fill each soup dish with bouillon and barley, topped with curds wrapped in a Swiss chard leaf. Sprinkle a few grains of sea salt on the curds and drizzle both huile rance and pepper oil. Decorate with strips of red pepper.