The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter

The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter

by Charlie Trotter, Matthias Merges, Mitchell F. Rice

The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter, a companion volume to the award-winning television show, is a guide in gourmet cuisine for the home cook, with recipes for soups, salads, seafood, and more by mastermind chef Charlie Trotter.

Book buyers and diners alike have marveled at the incredible food that emerges from the kitchen of Charlie Trotter's


The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter, a companion volume to the award-winning television show, is a guide in gourmet cuisine for the home cook, with recipes for soups, salads, seafood, and more by mastermind chef Charlie Trotter.

Book buyers and diners alike have marveled at the incredible food that emerges from the kitchen of Charlie Trotter's world-renowned Chicago restaurant and have bought over 125,000 copies of his cookbooks. Now, readers can step behind the scenes and take a lesson from the master himself. A fine-cuisine cooking class for the home chef, KITCHEN SESSSIONS is the companion volume to Trotter's new 13-part public television cooking series, which has aired on national television since. Each episode is a personalized introduction to an essential ingredient—from salmon to chocolate—complete with a wide range of glorious recipes—120 in all. KITCHEN SESSIONS demystifies the professional techniques and tricks behind Trotter's show-stopping recipes, making them accessible for home cooks.








Awards:2000 James Beard Award Winner

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The complexity of Charlie Trotter's recipes pushes the limits of culinary sanity. But more often than not, they're genius.” —The New York Times
Renowned Chicago chef Charlie Trotter says that rather than cooking with rigid recipes, he prefers to let impeccable ingredients inspire him to improvise, and he demonstrates his spontaneous style in his new television cooking show, "The Kitchen Sessions. The Kitchen Sessions With Charlie Trotter, the new companion volume to the series, offers sophisticated recipes and a fascinating look at the creative process that goes on in the mind of one of today's most acclaimed chefs.

Product Details

Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
Publication date:
Star Chefs Series
Product dimensions:
8.63(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.93(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


The simple flavors of this soup produce

extraordinary elegance. Ginger and dried cranberries accentuate the sweetness

of the pumpkin and make the soup nearly pop with flavor,

while at the same time they counter the lusciousness of the pheasant.

Crispy pepitos add a playfulness that could also be achieved by adding

toasted almond or hazelnut pieces.

    Butternut, acorn, or blue hubbard squash could easily be substituted for the

pumpkin, and lobster works nicely in place of the pheasant.


1 small pumpkin (about 1½ pounds), halved and seeded

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

12 sprigs thyme

¼ cup Preserved Ginger (see page 211)

2 cups Chicken Stock (see page 201)

3 tablespoons butter

½ cup julienned fresh ginger

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil

2 pheasant breasts, skin on

¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped and rehydrated

¼ cup pepitos (green pumpkin seeds)

4 teaspoons pumpkin seed oil

METHOD—To prepare the pumpkin: Rub the pumpkin with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkin halves upside down on a sheet pan and place 8 of the thyme sprigs under the pumpkins. Add 1/4 inch of water and roast at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the pumpkins are tender.

To prepare the soup: Purée the Preserved Ginger and any ginger syrup, the stock, and the pulp from the cooked pumpkin until smooth, and season to taste withsalt and pepper. Cook the mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until warm. Whisk in the butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To prepare the ginger: Place the julienned ginger and 1/2 cup of room temperature canola oil in a small saucepan. Warm the oil over medium heat and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

To prepare the pheasant: Season the pheasant with salt and pepper. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil to a hot sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pheasant and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until just cooked. Let rest for 3 minutes and then thinly slice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

ASSEMBLY—Ladle the soup into 4 shallow bowls. Arrange the pheasant slices in the center and sprinkle the dried cranberries, pepitos, fried ginger, and the remaining thyme leaves around the bowl. Top with freshly ground black pepper and drizzle the pumpkin seed oil around the soup.

WINE NOTES—A full-bodied, lean Puligny-Montrachet from Domaine Leflaive or Jean Marc Boillot would be a good match with this soup. Their acidity balances the sweetness of the soup, while the oak makes the pumpkin seeds jump out.


This dish is especially refreshing on a warm summer day.

It goes together very quickly because there is

no cooking involved;

the cucumbers, yogurt, and a little lemon juice are merely blended together.

Shrimp or salmon can be added for a more lavish presentation or to provide more


    For a wonderful vegetarian first course, omit the oysters and add a couple of additional vegetables.


2 English cucumbers, peeled and chopped

1 cup plain yogurt

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt and pepper

1 small yellow tomato, peeled, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup Hot and Sour Cucumbers (see page 207)

16 small oysters, shucked

5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon caviar

2 tablespoons radish sprouts

2 teaspoons dill sprigs

4 teaspoons Dill Oil (see page 203)

METHOD—To prepare the soup: Purée the cucumbers, yogurt, and lemon juice until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To prepare the tomato: Toss the diced tomato with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

ASSEMBLY—Stir the soup and ladle into 4 shallow bowls. Place some of the diced tomato in the center of each bowl and arrange some of the Hot and Sour Cucumbers at 4 points around the tomatoes. Place an oyster on each mound of cucumbers and top each oyster with 1 teaspoon of the caviar. Sprinkle a few of the radish sprouts around the bowls. Sprinkle the dill sprigs on the soup and drizzle the Dill Oil around the bowls. Top with freshly ground black pepper.

WINE NOTES—This refreshing soup requires an equally refreshing wine. The key to finding the right wine for this dish is matching the oysters and caviar, and the crisp acidity and mineral flavors of a Chablis are perfect. Either the Moreau Chablis "Vaillons" or a Sancerre by Lucien Crochet would do the trick.


White bean soup is so simple, yet so profound.

The beans are cooked until they barely maintain their texture, and the

resulting flavor is redolent of

the vegetables and garlic they are cooked with. A small white bean galette adds

texture and substance,

which helps push this sensual soup over the top.

    Tomato concassé could be added to provide a pleasant acidic note. For the

ultimate in richness and luxury,

serve a piece of seared foie gras in the center of each bowl.


3 bulbs garlic, cloves separated and peeled

4 cups Chicken Stock (see page 201)

4 cups cooked white beans (such as cannellini or navy beans)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Salt and pepper

½ pound thinly sliced prosciutto, fat trimmed, meat julienned

2 tablespoons butter

METHOD—To prepare the garlic: Simmer the garlic in the stock for 45 minutes, or until soft. Drain the garlic, reserving the stock and the garlic separately.

To prepare the beans: Purée the white beans with three quarters of the garlic until smooth. Place 1 cup of the purée in a small bowl and fold in the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To prepare the soup: Add the reserved cooking liquid to the remaining white bean purée and blend until fully incorporated. Return the soup to a saucepan and warm over medium heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To prepare the galettes: Fold one-third of the prosciutto into the chilled white bean purée. Fill four 2-inch-diameter by 1-inch-high molds with the bean purée. Place the butter in a hot sauté pan over medium heat and add the molds. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. Turn the molds, cook for 1 minute on the other side, and carefully remove the molds from the cakes. Cook for 2 more minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown.

ASSEMBLY—Place some of the proscuitto in the center of each shallow bowl and top with a galette. Mound the remaining proscuitto on top of the galettes. Carefully ladle the soup into the bowls. Sprinkle the remaining garlic cloves around the bowls and top with freshly ground black pepper.

WINE NOTES—The smokiness of a white Burgundy from Chassagne-Montrachet will balance perfectly with the rich, sweet, earthiness of white beans, but still allow the sweet flavor of the roasted garlic to shine through. Ramonet or Colin-Deleger both produce wines that will blend seamlessly with this dish.

Meet the Author

CHARLIE TROTTER is the author of 14 cookbooks and three management books and is an eight-time James Beard Award winner. He is the chef and owner of the legendary Charlie Trotter's, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, as well as Trotter's To Go in Chicago. He recently founded C in Los Cabos, Mexico, and Restaurant Charlie in the Palazzo Hotel at the Venetian Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

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