March 5, 2008

CONTACT:  Linda Shelton
(615) 837-5160

Lion? Lamb?  How About Chicken (With Truffle Oil) As Symbol for March?


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – “Forget that lion and lamb adage about March weather,” says Tammy Algood.  “In Tennessee, the animal that best represents our feelings toward this month is just plain chicken.  We can get anything, absolutely anything this month: a blizzard, a heat wave, tornadoes – maybe all three.  Comfort is what we need this unpredictable time of year, which makes my Lentil and Mushroom Soup with Truffle Oil the perfect choice for the season.”


Algood is spokesperson for the statewide Pick Tennessee Products campaign, the promotion developed by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Market Development Division to help consumers identify and choose foods grown or processed in Tennessee.  Algood creates recipes featuring foods grown or processed in Tennessee.  Her recipes can be found at


“Lentil and Mushroom Soup with Truffle Oil is mild and comforting, but interesting, too, thanks to the wine, truffle oil and mushrooms,” says the food expert.  “It’s a hearty meal in a bowl.”


“Truffle oil is the only ingredient in this recipe that takes a little extra nerve to try and a little extra effort to seek out,” says Algood. “You may have to go to a more ‘high end’ or specialty food store to find it.  Truffle oil is a little pricey, but rest assured that a little goes a long way and that it will last indefinitely.  Once you have it in your pantry you can add another dimension to your cooking for which there really is no good substitute.”


Truffles are a rare and delicate type of edible mushroom that grow underground, traditionally in the Mediterranean basin countries of Europe. Recipes for cooking truffles with wine sauce date back to cookbooks from ancient Rome, says Algood.  Ancient Greeks and Romans thought truffles were the byproduct of lightning strikes.  “Truffle hunting is big business in March in France and Italy,” says the food expert. “Every year at this time trufficulteurs use specially trained dogs to hunt for truffles, usually at night, so their locations can be kept secret.”


“So not only does using truffle oil in March make sense,” says the spokesperson, “but truffles are actually a Tennessee food product, now.  Tennessee truffles have been getting high praise from top American chefs who are thrilled to have access to truffles grown so close to their restaurants.”  Plant pathologist Dr. Tom Michaels in Chuckey, Tennessee is the first American producer of the prized Périgord truffles, fragrant black fungi that brings $800 per pound. 


“Don’t be chicken this March,” says Algood.  “Expect the unexpected.  Try my truffle oil recipe and brace yourself for springtime in Tennessee.”


For more recipes featuring Tennessee farm and processed products or listings of more local and artisan food products, visit the TDA Market Development Web site at




Please find a hi-res downloadable photograph of the attached recipe at  Click on the featured recipe.



Lentil and Mushroom Soup with Truffle Oil


¼ cup unsalted Purity butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small yellow or white onion, chopped

¾ pound (Monterey Mushrooms) cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup Tennessee dry white wine

1 cup lentils

1/3 cup cooked chicken, coarsely chopped or torn

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon truffle oil


In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and onions.  Cook, stirring occasionally until onions just begin to brown, around 7 minutes.  Stir in mushrooms and salt.  Increase heat to medium-high and cook 5 minutes more. 


Add stock, wine and lentils.  Bring to a boil, then decrease heat to medium and cook until lentils are tender, around 35 minutes.  Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup.  Return to stove over medium flame to reheat briefly.  Ladle into soup bowls.  Garnish each serving with chicken, chives and a swirl of truffle oil.  Serve immediately with a Tennessee Chardonnay.  Yield:  6 servings.