Greetings, friends. Today I have another lesson to share with you. If you’re making a soup with many vegetables, make sure you chop them all up before you really start the recipe, or you’ll be scrambling to get everything in on time. This is the lesson my mother and I learned while making this lovely Soupe au Pistou. Find the recipe on Saveur’s website here. Also cut back on your chopping by using the pre-cut bags of cabbage at the supermarket instead of buying the whole head and only using a quarter.
Okay, so I know what you’re thinking…what is this pasta with the extremely thin sauce this girl is trying to pass off as soup? Well, therein lies the pickle (or broth question). In soups that contain pasta, I always feel there isn’t enough of it. My family agrees in general that we would rather have more pasta and a stew-like consistency than feel like we’re getting gypped on the substantial stuff and get a load of broth. Though this soup was so awesome, I’d probably like it either way. And as pro-stoup as I am, next time I make this, I will probably up the amount of stock I use by a few cups just to get a tad more liquid.
But I digress, back to the flavor. This is described by Saveur as a Provencal Vegetable soup, and to me, its like Minestrone’s cool cousin. Less tomato juice makes the broth much richer and less bitey, which in this case I prefer. Also, the pistou, the Provencal version of pesto (pistou, pesto, pistou, pesto) does not contain nuts, which made the herb flavor a little more concentrated. That worked perfectly with the soup, which doesn’t have any major flavorings other than garlic and those inherent in the stock and vegetables. The soup alone is still very good, with solid flavors and a potpourri (oui oui) of vegetables. But the pistou adds a wonderful layered brightness to the soup, with the parmesan cheese, basil and (surprise!) more garlic adding richness to the dish. But the garlic flavor was very subtle, in the best way possible. If only the pistou’s creation didn’t lead to a little something I like to call “Blender Wars.”
The further along I walk on this culinary path, the more evident it has become to me that a blender sometimes is just not an adequate substitute for a food processor. Granted, I know (from the well-crafted article on pesto in Saveur where I got this recipe) that pesto in Italy was originally made using a mortar and pestle (which interestingly enough the author of said article says give it a more velvety, luxurious texture), so I shouldn’t really be complaining too much. But I think many among us know the frustration that comes with hitting that pulse button and seeing liquid forming and the very bottom and the mass of ingredients stagnant at the top. (Dear Santa, Please bring me a cuisinart with multiple settings and attachments) But eventually, with a lot of teamwork and patience, it all came together.
Oh yea, I almost forgot, we made one of my favorite sandwiches- BATs (Bacon, Avocado, Tomato) to go along with our soup. The recipe, is pretty simple, I gather you can do it yourself without me spelling it out any further (punny). It’s really all about what kind of bread and spreads you like to complement it. I used toasted pumpernickel and a light shmear of dijonaise , which worked out quite well. I forgot to take a picture of my delicious sandwich because I inhaled it in about 2 minutes, but I did remember to get some delightful shots of the avocado and tomatoes, below are the best of the bunch.
And finally, some gratuitous action shots from the soup construction. SHIELD THE CHILDREN!
That’s it for today, happy cooking!