SOUPE AU PISTOU
SERVES 6-8 / PREPARATION 30 MINUTES PLUS OVERNIGHT SOAKING / COOKING 40 MINUTES PLUS 60-90 MINUTES FOR BEANS
I have a soft spot for a cooled vegetable soup. This one plays with texture – some of the vegetables are very well cooked while the late-added vegetables retain a little crunch. But if cold soups aren’t your thing, by all means serve it hot. When I have time (or remember to soak beans), I prefer to use dried beans; if I forget, then a tin of white beans will suffice. Sometimes I’ll cook the beans on the stovetop, but most often I prefer to cook them covered in the oven at a low temperature (160°C -180°C). Often I’ll add a head of garlic, some sage, chilli or tomatoes or a stick of celery along with a slick of olive oil. I’ll discard most of the vegetables after cooking, but squeeze the garlic from the cloves and mash the tomatoes to use in the cooking liquid.
FOR THE SOUP
½ cup flageolet verts (available at Sabato), or use white beans, soaked overnight in cold water (this will make 1½ cups cooked beans), or 400g can white beans 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, chopped 1 stick celery, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 4 zucchini, diced 1cm 250g green beans, trimmed and chopped 1½ cup frozen peas 1 litre bean cooking liquid (or top up with
water or chicken stock) 1 teaspoon sea salt ¼ cup cream (optional) Drain and rinse the beans, cover with clean water, bring to the boil then simmer gently, removing any scum that rises, until the beans are tender – this should take about 90 minutes (or cook in the oven as indicated in the recipe intro). Leave in the cooking liquid until needed.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion, celery and garlic for 10 minutes or until soft.
Add half the zucchini, half the green beans and half the peas to the pan and fry for 10 minutes, then add the beans and bean liquid or stock and salt and cook for 20 minutes.
Add the remaining vegetables and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cream, if using, season to taste and cool to room temperature. Serve with a dollop of the pistou in each bowl.
2 cloves garlic 2 cups basil leaves 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil In a mortar, mash the garlic with salt, add the basil and pound to a paste then stir in the oil.
WINE A lean, smoky chardonnay, such as the Rod McDonald Quarter Acre Chardonnay 2015.