Saturday, September 28, 2013

Soupe Au Pistou

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is, of course, Julia Child's classic version of the simple, but fragrant Provencal vegetable soup. The soup is a summer favorite in the Mediterranean. It's then that herbs and sundry beans come to market and hawkers push their bounty shouting, "Mesdames, faites le bon piste, faites le pistou!" I'm not much for summer soup, so it's fortunate that the vegetables used to make this span the seasons. What sets this soup apart from others of its ilk, is the freshness of its vegetables and the use of pistou, a sauce made with garlic, basil, tomato and cheese. This is one the first recipes I made as I worked my way through the first volume of Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It is foolproof, and the only thing that can be done to spoil it, is to overcook the vegetables thrown into the pot. If you love peasant food, this soup is one you'll find hard to resist. You'll never forget its unique aroma, and its color, taste and texture will allow your imagination to run wild. With any luck, you'll find yourself sitting at a scrubbed, worn table in a farmhouse kitchen enjoying the bounty of your French host's garden. The fantasy would be perfect if Julia were also there to entertain. Here's her recipe, in case you missed it first time around.

Soupe Au Pistou...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of Julia Child



3 quarts water

2 cups diced waxy potatoes

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced onion or white of leek

1 tablespoon salt

2 cups canned white navy or kidney beans, drained

1/3 cup broken spaghetti

1 slice stale white bread, crumbled

2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Optional : pinch of saffron


4 cloves crushed garlic

4 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 to 1/2 cup fruity olive oil


1) To make soup: Bring water, potatoes, carrots and onions or leeks, and salt to a boil in a 6-quart soup pot. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. About 20 minutes before serving add white beans, broken spaghetti, bread, pepper and saffron to the soup and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the green beans and simmer 5 to 10 minutes more, until they are cooked through but still crunchy. Again adjust salt and pepper to taste.

2 ) To make pistou: While the soup is simmering, place the garlic, tomato puree or paste, basil and cheese in a soup tureen or another pot. Pound to a paste with a wooden spoon, then beat in olive oil, drop by drop.

3) To finish and serve: Whisk a cup of hot soup into tureen containing pistou. When smooth add rest of soup and stir well to combine. Serve hot with French bread or croutons. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

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Vegetable Bean Soup - The Bake-Off Flunkie

Vegetable Beef Soup - Never Enough Thyme

Healthy Tomato and Vegetable Soup - Taste

Late Summer Vegetable Soup with Basil Pesto - Food Blogga

Roasted Vegetable Soup - In Danny's Kitchen

Minestrone for All Seasons - Italian Food Forever

Vegetable Soup - Niya's Kitchen

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