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Chervil

Contributed by: Jennifer Wickes

What is it?

Chervil is an herb in the parsley family. It has a distinct anise flavor. Some describe its flavor as a cross between tarragon and citrus. It has dark green curly leaves.

It is the main herb in the herbal mix: Fines Herbes.

It is cultivated for the leaves, despite the roots being edible too.

Where did it originate from?

It originated from the Middle East and southern Russia. It most likely was introduced to Europe through the Romans.

Other Names

Also called: cicily or sweet cicily.

Storage

Fresh herbs should be carefully washed then wrapped in a damp paper towel, then placed in a plastic bag and stored in the butter compartment of the refrigerator.

Dried herbs will only maintain freshness for 6 months to a year, so the smallest possible sized container should be bought if any particular herb is not used often.

Substitution

Substitute with 1/2 parsley and 1/2 tarragon.

Tips

Add chervil at the end of the meal preparation to help preserve its flavor.

Serve with:

artichokes, asparagus, beans, breads (savory), cabbage, chicken, corn, cucumber, duck, eggplant, eggs, fish, goose, ham, lamb, meatloaf, mushrooms, pasta, peas, pork, potatoes, rice, salad, soups and stews, spinach, summer squash, stuffing, tomatoes, turkey, vegetables.

Gardening

If you are trying to grow your own kitchen herbal garden, then chervil should be grown in troughs. It likes the sun, but not the hot midday sun. Maintain a moist cool soil. If you are planting seeds, try planting them in the late spring, early summer!

Recipe

Potato and Leek Soup with Fresh Chervil

  • 3 leeks
  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil -- cold-pressed
  • 2 1/4 pounds Idaho potatoes -- cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme -- crushed
  • 2 1/4 quarts chicken broth -- home made low-salt
  • 1/4 cup Neufchatel cheese -- low fat
  • 1 dash ground white pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh chervil -- or 1 tbsp. dried chervil

Cut white parts of leeks lengthwise, rinse and cut into 1-inch pieces. Cut tender green parts of leeks into 1/8 x 1-inch strips. Reserve.

In large skillet or saucepot heat oil; add potatoes, white leek pieces, bay leaves and thyme. Cover. Cook 10 minutes, stirring once.

Add chicken broth; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

Stir in cheese and peppers. Press through a fine sieve.

Blanch reserved green strips of leek in boiling water 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve soup hot or cold. Top each serving with 2 teaspoons fresh chervil or 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf chervil and julienned strips of leek.

Yields: 6 servings

Lactose Intolerance:

There is a soy cream cheese available in the refrigerated salad dressings aisle.

To Make This Recipe Suitable For A Vegetarian Diet:

Substitute the chicken broth with a vegetable broth.




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