Monday, January 6, 2014


The night after we had the humble turkey-stuffing casserole, my husband made a much more complicated recipe, one of his favorites--Pistou, which is a soup from Provençal, akin to minestrone.  David usually makes it once a year, and I really look forward to it.  I've never made it myself, as the recipe is more complicated than I enjoy doing, but I'm so glad David likes making it!  Not all recipes for Pistou would have you cook each of the vegetables separately, but doing this way makes for a lovely complexity of flavor and texture in the soup.

adapted from Stella Standard, Soups for All Season; makes 3 quarts soup; serves 10-12

1/2 cup dried lima or white beans (frozen lima beans are fine—use a 10-oz package)
5 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb. frozen peas
2 t. basil
salt and pepper
butter (for vegan version, substitute canola oil)
1/2 lb. fresh green beans, cut into 1" lengths
1/2 t. rosemary
1 or 2 small zucchini, sliced (about 1/4" thick)
1 small green pepper, seeded and cut into fine strips
3 large white onions, cut in half and sliced
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped, or 1/2 c. canned tomatoes
1 12-oz can white shoe-peg corn
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 c. pasta shells

Pistou sauce
6 large cloves garlic
large handful parsley
1/2 c. olive oil
1/3 c. soup broth

small bowl of grated parmesan cheese

1.     If doing beans from scratch:  Soak the dried beans overnight.  Next day, cook in a small amount of water until tender; do not discard cooking liquid.  If using frozen beans:  Cook according to package instructions; do not discard cooking liquid.
2.     Put broth in a large soup kettle.  As the vegetables are cooked, add them with their cooking liquid.
3.     Add the cooked beans and their cooking liquid to the broth.
4.     Cook the peas in a pat of butter, 1/3 cup water, and with the basil, some salt, and pepper, until tender.  Add peas and liquid to the soup kettle.
5.     Cook the cut green beans with rosemary, salt, pepper, a pat of butter, and 1/2 cup of water, until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add beans and liquid to soup kettle.
6.     Cook the sliced zucchini and green pepper with 1/3 cup water, tightly covered for 5 minutes.  Add to the soup.
7.     Sauté the onions in butter until tender without browning them; add salt and pepper.  Add to the soup.
8.     Add the chopped tomato, corn, and garlic to the soup.
9.     Cook the pasta in salted water until tender, drain, and add to the soup.  Soup may be made ahead, and warmed up at serving time.  Pass the pistou sauce; each bowl gets a spoonful.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
Making the Pistou sauce:
Using a food processor:  Mince the garlic, then add the parsley, processing until finely chopped.  Keep processor running, and drizzle in the oil, and then the broth.

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