Sunday, October 17, 2010

Soupe au Pistou

I don't like beans.

Yeah, I know, you're probably asking yourself how I can be Mexican and not like beans. Easy. I just don't. Seriously, in my 33 years on this Earth I never met a bean that I liked. My distaste for the legume isn't limited to the humble pinto bean either. Kidney, navy, black eyed pea - they're all, as one of my favorite bloggers puts it, sick-nast, as far as I'm concerned.

About a month or so ago I was served a bowl of vegetable soup at my friend Sam's house that not only contained beans, but giant hunks of tomato as well. I think I've expressed my dislike for tomatoes here before. I know. I'm a picky eater, but I like to think that I'm the most adventurous picky eater you'll ever meet! As a lifelong picky eater though, I'm no stranger to picking things out of my food and eating around the stuff I don't like. No biggie.

But... to be polite, I made myself try a spoonful as it was served, with the beans and the tomatoes.

And I liked it. Beans, tomatoes, and all. I cleaned my bowl and had a second helping.

She was nice enough to share the recipe for this Soupe au Pistou with me, and with her permission, I'm posting it here.

I doubled this recipe, so if you're wondering why the quantities in the photo above look like so much more than I have listed, that's why.

You're going to need one chopped medium sized onion, a small leek that you've cleaned and chopped, one large, chopped carrot, one large, chopped celery, a small, cubed potato, a handful of small pasta, a small zucchini that's been quartered lengthwise and sliced, 4 ounces of green beans cut into one inch pieces, and two cloves of garlic. The recipe calls for two cups of fresh basil as well, but the first time I made it I used two packed cups of basil and ended up with neon green soup. This time I used one loosely packed cup and it was MUCH better.

You'll also need a can of Great Northern beans. Ah yes, THESE are the magic beans! The recipe says you can also use cannelini or any other white bean. Drain them and rinse them well in a fine sieve or colander, until all the foam is gone. These are so gross when you first crack open the can, but after you rinse them they're good.

You'll also need olive oil, salt, pepper, and two cups of medium, ripe tomatoes that have been peeled, seeded, and chopped. The tomatoes at the Walmarts were looking mighty sad today so I had to suck it up and get the evil BPA tomatoes in a can. Hey, at least they're organic, right? They were out of the regular diced ones so I grabbed the fire roasted kind. I think they added a little bit more flavor to the finished dish, but they're absolutely not necessary. Plain tomatoes work fine too.

Oh, and some cheese, lovely cheese! You'll need 2/3 of a cup shredded Parmesan. Do yourself a favor and get the good stuff. Every time you use the powder in the green can, angels cry. True story.

I took this opportunity to break in my new lovely. You know I totally made this my Facebook profile picture. HA! Total fat kid move.

On to the soupe! First, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, leek, carrot, and celery. Stir and cook 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables start to get tender but not brown. Stir in the tomatoes, potato, 2 teaspoons salt, and eight cups water. You can also add a pinch of saffron threads at this point if you like, but I am cheap and did not have any. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 20 - 30 minutes.

Add the beans, pasta (I used Piccolini farfalle but you can use macaroni or even broken spaghetti), zucchini and green beans. Give it a good stir and allow it to simmer just until the pasta is tender. Meanwhile, make the pistou.

In a blender, puree the basil, garlic, and 1/4 cup olive oil until smooth. Get it? Pistou is PESTO! HA! I felt so clever when I figured that out. Hey man, I have take my victories wherever I can get them. :)

Remove the soup from the heat and immediately stir in the pistou along with the Parmigiano Reggiano and a teaspoon of ground black pepper. Add more salt if needed. I had a hard time getting the pistou out of the blender, so I dipped some of the soup broth out of the pot and into the blender, gave it a whirl, and then was able to pour it all back into the pot very easily.

According to the recipe this can be served hot, warmed, or cold. I happen to think cold soup is foul though, so I'm recommending hot!

Here's the recipe in an easy to cut-and-paste format:

Provencal Vegetable Soup (Soupe au Pistou)

soupe ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 small leek, (white and tender green parts) cleaned and chopped,
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
2 medium, ripe tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped OR one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 small potato, cubed
a handful of small pasta, uncooked
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced,
4 ounces of green beans cut into one inch pieces,
1 15.5 oz can of Great Northern beans, rinsed well and drained
a pinch of Saffron threads (optional)
2/3 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 teaspoon black pepper

pistou ingredients:
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup fresh basil NOT packed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, leek, carrot, and celery. Stir and cook 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables start to get tender but not brown. Stir in the tomatoes, potato, 2 teaspoons salt, and eight cups water. You can also add a pinch of saffron threads if you like. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 20 - 30 minutes.

Add the beans, pasta, zucchini and green beans. Stir and allow it to simmer just until the pasta is tender. Meanwhile, make the pistou. In a blender, puree the basil, garlic, and 1/4 cup olive oil until smooth.

Remove the soup from the heat and immediately stir in the pistou along with the Parmigiano Reggiano and a teaspoon of ground black pepper. Add more salt if needed. Ladle into bowls to serve hot, or serve at room temperature or cold.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Marissa said...

That soup sounds delicious!

8:53 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

This is so pathetic but when I saw this, all i could think about is, OH MY GOD THAT IS A LOT OF BOWLS TO WASH. I think there's something wrong with me.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Miss M! said...

Girl, that's what dishwashers and husbands are for! LOL!

12:29 PM  

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