Thursday, July 17, 2008
The best Soup in the World
This gorgeous garden soup is a favorite from Provence it reminds me my summers when I was a teenager still living with my parents in the Basque country. My family and myself discovered this soup years ago from a great-great cousin family who was living in Provence. Basil was not a commun herb in Basque coubtry back then. Then it became my sister’s soup. Each summer she was devoted a complete morning to complete her soup. Our late neighbors had basil in their vegetable garden and it was a ritual to knock at their door asking for some basil for our favorite soup.
This is a French farm-country soup , since it uses so many seasonal garden vegetables, like carrots, tomatoes, green beans, and squash. “Pistou” is the French version of pesto, a rich and flavorful sauce of healthful olive oil, herbs, and garlic. The colorful vegetable-rich soup and the savory pistou make beautiful music together.
I like to add some grounded Swiss cheese.
1/2 cup dried white (Navy) beans
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 small carrots, scrubbed and diced
2 small celery stalks, diced
1 medium zucchini or summer squash, diced
2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
4 cups good-quality vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 cup French green beans, ends trimmed, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
1 recipe Pistou (see below)
1. Soak the dried beans in enough water to cover for 3 hours, or overnight. Drain beans and place them in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boll, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 40 minutes, until slightly tender. Drain and set beans aside.
2. Warm olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat and add onion, carrots, celery, and squash. Cook, stirring once in awhile, for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are soft, then add tomatoes, broth, water, and cooked beans. Continue cooking, uncovered, for 30 minutes, then add green beans and simmer 15 more minutes.. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Serve soup in individual bowls with a dollop of pistou on top of each serving and some cheese. Serve immediately.
INGREDIENTS2 bunches fresh basil
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 cup raw pistachios
1. Remove basil leaves from stems. With a mortar and pestle crush the garlic gloves, with the basil, and oil then the pistachios.