Wednesday, February 27, 2008

French Vegetable Soup

I found this soup while reading the book "French Women Don't Get Fat". (I highly recommend the book.) There are so many variations that you can do with this soup and it is absolutely delightful! I love it, my kids love it, and my husband adores it. You can't go wrong with this recipe. And there are so many ways to play around with it. You can eliminate or add vegetables of your choice very easily.


2 Potatoes

1 onion, peeled and quartered

2 garlic cloves, peeled

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 leeks, white and tender green parts

1/2 small cabbage

3 celery ribs

2 turnips

4 carrots

4 TBS butter

2 cups canned tomatoes

2 sprigs of parsley

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 Tbs butter

4 Tbs fresh cream (whipping cream)

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Peel, wash, and roughly slice the potatoes. Place in a small pot and add water to cover. Add the quartered onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer till tender (about 10 minutes). Drain and set aside.2. Wash the remaining vegetables and slice or dice them. Melt the 4 Tbs butter in a 15 quart stockpot and "sweat" the vegetables, stirring often. (5 minutes) This procedure eliminates the more aggressive aromas of fresh vegetables.
3. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, onion, and garlic, and water to cover. Stir in the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves and continue to cook until all the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaves. Drain the vegetables, reserving the cooking liquid.
4. Puree the drained vegetables in a food processor, using the fine grating disk. Thin the soup with the reserved cooking liquid to the consistency you like. (It shouldn't be too watery of too thick)
5. Correct the seasoning and add fresh herbs of your choice.

Optional Finishing Tricks:

Bring the soup to a boil. In a skillet, fry the thinly sliced onion in 1 tbs butter. Add to the soup. Add the cream, nutmeg, and salt to taste. Add pepper and serve immediately.
Alternatively, beofre putting the vegetables through the food mill, reserve 2 cups and add them to the soup just before serving. The crunchy vegetables will contrast with the velvety soup.
You can also play a bit with different spices. Try ground cloves, cumin, or turmeric.

As leftovers: Save half of the soup before the finishing touches and serve it 2 days later, adding a sausage sauted in a bit of oil and then stir into the soup.

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