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Chef's Corner: SERENA PERDUE Chef/Niche Restaurant

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Chef's Corner: SERENA PERDUE Chef/Niche Restaurant

Born and raised in Geneva, Illinois, Serena Teipel Perdue is the newest addition to the Niche family. (free registration required)

Born and raised in Geneva, Illinois, Serena Teipel Perdue is the newest addition to the Niche family.   Beginning her role as the Executive Chef at Niche, Serena is no stranger to the kitchen.  Serena’s parents, long-time residents and active community members of Geneva, were her primary influence growing up and inspired her love for cooking.  At a young age, Serena and her sister would help their mother in the kitchen, many times creating their own special recipes, but whatever the concoction, their mother was sure to bake it for them.  Seasonal cooking was also a staple in Serena’s home.  Boasting a large backyard garden, the vegetables of the season were abundant enough to feed the entire neighborhood.  It was through these early experiences that Serena credits her inspiration for the seasonality in the dishes she creates.

Serena began her educational journey at Elgin Academy.   She then went on to graduate with a degree in Environmental Science from Denver University, where she also was an avid soccer player and until recently held the Women’s Soccer shutout record.  Serena remained in Colorado and attended the Culinary Institute of America and held an internship at The Little Nell in Aspen.  Following culinary school, Serena spent some time cooking in Seattle and New Orleans, cities known for the best “truly regional cuisine” but also some of the freshest ingredients.  It was right before Hurricane Katrina that Serena made the move to Chicago.  Serena could have been seen creating seasonal dishes most recently as the Sous Chef at NoMi in the Park Hyatt.

Here at Niche, we look forward to Serena’s dedicated approach to inspire and offer her personal touches to the menu. We hope you are able to join us in the next few weeks to savor some of Serena’s new fall menu offerings.

WATERCRESS SOUP

LEEKS med dice - 250 G

CHICKEN LEGS - 250 G

POTATO  med dice - 250 G

BUTTER - 75 G

CHICKEN STOCK - 2 QT

WATERCRESS     - 225 G

SPINACH              - 225 G

Perfect soup for early spring:

* Sear whole chicken legs in butter, browning each side to develop flavor.

* Wash leeks well to remove sand and grit.

* Add leeks to chicken and sweat.

* Add diced potato and chicken stock and simmer 30 min.

Remove chicken legs, keeping leeks and potatoes with the broth. Cool and set aside. This is a "double" stock.

 

In boiling salted water blanch spinach and watercress.  Immediately shock in ice water.

Squeeze all water from blanched greens.

In batches put blanched greens and double stock into a blender.  Blend until smooth, keep cold to maintain green color.

Blend everything til very smooth, combine all blender batches and season with salt and pepper.

 

This soup can be served cold or hot. 

If serving hot:

1. season while it is warm.  

2 Serve immediately after warming or green color will be lost.

 

Garnish with creme fraiche, black pepper and fresh watercress leaves.  And maybe truffle oil!

*  Simmer "double broth gently and do not over cook chicken so the legs can be turned into chicken salad.  Yum.  Two meals.

 

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