Fr. Z’s Ash Wednesday Kitchen: Rose, Rice and Rapture

Today is not only Ash Wednesday, but it is also the Feast of St. Rose of Viterbo.   St. Rose died on 6 March 1251.  Today is her “dies natalis… birthday (into heaven)”.   However, there is an amazing event in Viterbo in September in her honor.  Since her relics were translated on 4 Sept 1258, down through the centuries Rose is honored with a procession the likes of which you will not see elsewhere.  A “macchina” several stories tall is carried through the streets at night, on the 3 September while huge drums are beaten.  HERE It is stunning.

Meanwhile, it is Ash Wednesday.  On my calendar and in your traditional hand missal you can see that the Roman Station church today is Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill.  As I write, the Mass is going on.   It isn’t as impressive as it was … a few years ago.

Last night I got together with a group of priests, some of whom belong a splendid group called the Society of Jesus the Priest, which has its foundation in Spain.   They made incredible grilled steak and paella.

Today… I have prepared Vichyssoise from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. US HERE – UK HERE This will be my supper after returning from the evening Solemn Mass (TLM) for Ash Wednesday.

I asked the diocesan vocation director to be the celebrant. I’ve done it for years and he, a younger guy with fewer chances, can get some good experience. It’s a great blessing to have a diocese’s vocation director involved with our TMSM‘s mission.

Prep the veg

I used very little of the green of the leek this time… but I saved the greens.

Into broth to simmer and soften.

And because I mentioned “Dies Natalis”, above, here is the “Rapture” movement from Gerald Finzi’s cantata of the same name. This, the second movement, is a paen to life and to God, the joy of the new born child’s soul. And so some music while I cook.

US HERE – UK HERE  (a streaming version HERE … I think)

The texts are by Thomas Traherne (+1674), an English Metaphysical poet and priest (CofE).  The soloist is Philip Langridge, one of my favorite English tenors.  He features in my favorite recording of The Messiah.  It’s old, now, but excellent.

The Rapture

Sweet Infancy!
O heavenly fire! O sacred Light!
How fair and bright!
How great am I
Whom the whole world doth magnify!

O heavenly Joy!
O great and sacred blessedness
Which I possess!
So great a joy
Who did into my arms convey?

From God above
Being sent, the gift doth me enflame,
To praise His Name.
The stars do move,
The sun doth shine, to show His Love.

O how divine
Am I! To all this sacred wealth
This life and health,
Who rais’d? Who mine
Did make the same! What hand divine!

After that warmth and wonder, back to the prosaic potato and leek soup, which – like revenge – is traditionally served cold.

To obtain the right consistency, soften the veg by simmering it in your broth for a while.  Then, if you are old fashioned, put it through the mill, adding broth.

Whisk together with heavy cream and season.  Remember when seasoning that cold has a different effect on what you taste.    Be careful.  Check again when it is chilled.

Covered and ready for the fridge.  Tonight, Vichyssoise.  I’ll grind on fresh white pepper and add chopped chives.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. PostCatholic says:

    The first recipe in her first book. I just checked–I had a batch of the same recipe in my freezer, now defrosting on the counter for our meal tonight thanks to you your inspiration.

    I believe that according to MTAOFC that Vichyssoise includes watercress, and what we will be enjoying tonight is “Potage Saint Germain.” Am I correct?

    [Water-cress! Yes, that’s what Julia uses in her Vichyssoise. Today I was watercress challenged. However, on consulting the book itself, I find that she calls it Potage Parmentier. Also, note that she has several soups, basically leek and potato with watercress. I think, however, that Potage Saint Germain is a pea soup, n’est-ce pas?]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  2. That Guy says:

    Good Father, I see that you mentioned broth in your Vichyssoise recipe. Our parish hosts “Soup & Stations” on Lenten Fridays, and the question of whether or not broths of beef or chicken are suitable for Friday consumption is a perennial debate. Why would a broth of meat (or even gelatin for that matter) be considered acceptable on days of abstinence? Seems to be cheating, but I believe the rules indicate otherwise.

  3. That Guy says: broths of beef or chicken are suitable for Friday

    Consulting our old manuals helps. Broths from meat were not to be eaten under the old 1917 Code… “Abstinentiae lex vetat carne iureque ex carne vesci…”. Ius ex carne includes proper chicken broth, beef broth, etc.

    These days, the USCCB says that broths and soups from broths are “technically not forbidden” but that moral theologians – in other words the old manualists we like to consult – said that they shouldn’t be consumed.

    There’s a tension between these, isn’t there!

    For my soup, I started with vegetable broth.

  4. capchoirgirl says:

    Mmmmm! Can’t wait to make this soon. I have, bien sur, both volumes of Mastering but so often I forget to look through them for inspiration. This looks divine.

  5. acardnal says:

    Bon appetit, P`ere

  6. APX says:

    I have borscht (meatless with no meat broth) in my slow cooker right now. I recently acquired my grandma’s old kitchen mandolin from the 70s. Made in Germany, it just plowed through all my vegetables like cutting through butter with a hot knife. They sure don’t make things like they used to.

  7. PostCatholic says:

    Yes! Another delicious concoction, Saint Germain, but “Parmentier” is the môt juste for tonight’s soup! Thanks for catching that mistake.

  8. tho says:

    The priests of The Society of Jesus Christ The Priest were a great blessing to us here in New Jersey. Their reverent ways were an inspiration to all that came in contact with them, you are fortunate to have them for friends.

  9. JonPatrick says:

    “The Society of Jesus Christ the Priest” and “The Society of Jesus” – amazing how two groups with similar names can be like night and day in reality.

  10. 1jacobo5 says:

    Today I learned what part of the Leek to actually use:

    I just used Leeks for the first time since living in Liverpool back in 2011-2012. I used the dark green parts instead of the white in a homemade clam chowder because I didn’t know any better. Thanks Fr. Z for the culinary education today!

  11. seeker says:

    Another complement to the SJP here in New Jersey: When they were running a shrine they did so much good. One of them taught Latin and Spanish to a number of home schooled kids as well as hearing their confessions after class..and this was a priest who already heard confessions twice a day.
    He was so self giving and showed true Christian love, chastising when necessary, compassionate and supportive when that was called for. A truly great priest who is sorely missed. God bless Fr. L.P.

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