Soupe au Pistou
Julie had charged the group with picking recipes from Daniel Boulud's Café Boulud Cookbook for November's Charm City Cookbook Club. Not having this cookbook, but having a great appreciation and fondness for French food, I opted to purchase a copy. Amazon came through with a listing for a used copy, priced at just $13.
With the course assignment made, my individual charge, soup. So, leave it to me to find the one soup in the book that ended up being a French version of minestrone, Soupe au Pistou. To be quite honest, it wasn't an accident that I picked this particular soup. I had a motive, you see...I didn't want to have to blend or puree anything. So, it was a happy accident, this soup, '...(it's minestrone's cousin)...', as chef Boulud says in his introduction to the recipe. The girl who wanted to cook French, cooked French, but with much Italian relief, so to speak.
I arrived at Julie's house first. Once there, I followed her to the kitchen which resides in the basement. I didn't find this out of the ordinary at all. There are many basement kitchens scattered around Baltimore, canning kitchens. Fondly, it reminded me of AbFab and the entire night I felt as if I had fallen into an Eddy-like trance, always in the way, spinning around haphazardly and even once stepping on Annabelle, Julie's dog. Sweeeeetteeeeee...
I had my mise en place. Hours before I had prepped while watching Pepin and Child on public television. Each 1/2 inch diced vegetable in its own individual sandwich bag. Everything measured out precisely and grouped in order of use. I had even stored the diced Yukon in it's own water filled container to prevent discoloration. The pesto, pistou, pre-pestled with the addition of pine nuts. As chef Boulud says '...I love the body and richness that a few ground nuts bring to this soup.' I couldn't agree more.
So, with one spice sachet, one bouquet garni and six cups of vegetable stock in waiting I started Soupe au Pistou.
Julie's range is massive. The photo above does not do its size justice. Burner after burner with a warming tray and side by side ovens, what a treat. More than enough real estate for everyone to do their thing. I hung out on the front left, it turned out to be the perfect burner for this soup.
Sauté celery, onion, leek and garlic in extra virgin olive oil.
Salt and pepper.
Sachet and garni with six cups vegetable stock.
Yukon and carrot.
Chickpeas and zucchini.
Discard sachet and garni.
Turn off burner.
Bowls were readied, I ladled the soup. The final touch, a dollop of pesto. Carefully, the bowls were brought to the table and we ladies sat down to eat. I stirred the pesto into the soup and tasted. Sweet relief, it tasted good, really good.
With my nerves finally settled and my belly warmed and prepped for the next course, I relaxed...Edwina Monsoon-like, of course. Drinking sometimes like fish and being a constant physical nuisance. :)