Autumn vegetable soup with parsley pistou
My mental image of an ideal kitchen is one with a pot of soup simmering on the back burner with the warm, inviting aromas wafting in the air, making a house feel like home. My favourite pot to cook soups in is the French enamelled cast iron Le Creuset, and no, they are not paying me to say this. I have some beautiful copper pots that would look beautiful filled with soup, but then I have to polish them…am I getting lazy?
I have said it before and I’ll say it again: soups hardly need a recipe. Take a look at what is in your fridge, chop it up to equal size pieces and start building the soup from the bottom up, layering textures and flavours and finally pouring in a good stock or even just water.
My fridge is always full so making a soup is easy. This time I wanted a hearty vegetable soup so I pulled out the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, red pepper, cooked beans (I had some in the freezer but you can use canned), a few tomatoes, potatoes, a few yellow beans and a zucchini. I had vegetable stock (you can buy it) and a few herbs from my garden. I also had a few pieces of parmesan rind in the freezer that I keep to flavour soups. This was promising to be delicious.
This kind of soup is nice with a spoonful of pistou or pesto swirled into it just before serving. This too is something I always have on hand but I’ll show you how to make it. I like a pistou made with flat leaf parsley but you can make it with basil as well.
A soup and crusty bread, with or without a salad, is dinner for us. When I make a pot of soup I keep some of it in a mason jars in the fridge. It hold fine for a few days and then you have a soup at your disposal for when you need it.
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots. thinly sliced on a mandolin
3 inner celery ribs, leaves included, thinly sliced
1 small white or red skinned potatoes, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 small tomatoes, diced (I used skin and seeds)
12 fresh yellow beans, chopped
2 pieces parmesan rind or leave it out for vegan version
6-8 cup vegetable stock or use water and vegetable bouilon cubes or demi glace
A handful of chopped herbs (parsley, thyme)
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in a soup pot, add the onion and cook on medium heat until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, be careful not to brown it.
Add the carrots and celery and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes to soften them.
Add the potatoes, red pepper and tomatoes and cook for another few minutes, stirring.
Add 6 cups of the stock and bring to a boil.
Add the yellow beans, lower heat to simmer and cook the soup, adding as much stock as you need to have the consistency you want.
Add the herbs towards the end of the cooking.
Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. It depends on the stock you use, some have more salt than others.
To serve, remove the cheese rinds, ladle into soup bowls, spoon some of the pistou into each bowl and serve immediately.