Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Weekly Soup: French Country

There are lots of recipes out there for different french country soups.  This is by far my favorite of the ones I've tried.  My research indicates that it is traditionally served with a drizzle of pistou in each bowl (recipe follows); I subsituted basil-infused olive oil because I had some on hand and the results were delicious.

There are also lots of pistou recipes out there, and you could certainly use commercial pesto.  For me, the raw garlic is overpowering to a delicately-flavored soup like this.  But if lots of garlic is your thing, feel free to add a clove or two to the pistou or use a commercial one.

French Country Soup
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1 Tbsp. butter
3 large leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and chopped
1 large floury potato, cubed (I used a Russet)
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 - 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil and butter in a stock pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat.  Add leeks and saute, stirring frequently, about two minutes.  Add potato and carrots, and lightly season with salt and pepper.  Cook another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.

2. Add stock, bay leaves, and thyme.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Raise heat and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft.  Add broth if needed to keep vegetables submerged.

3. Remove bay leaf, then carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender (you could use an immersion blender if you have one).  Return the soup to the pan and gently reheat, stirring frequently.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Serve very hot.  Drizzle each bowl with a little pistou.


2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Whirl basil and olive oil in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and process until combined.

~ You might want to double the soup recipe -- I definitely will the next time I make it.  The soup can be frozen after step 3.
~ This soup has a delicate flavor, so go easy on the salt and pepper.  Remember you can always add, but you can't remove it once it's in the pot.
~ The dark green part of the leeks can be saved for making stock, but they are also delicious cut up in salads.
~ I used homemade vegetable broth that I had on hand; if I make it with commercial broth I will probably use about 2/3 broth and 1/3 water.  I find commercial broths (especially chicken broth) overpowering in this kind of soup.  But that could just be me...


  1. yummy sounds good. I love trying new recipes! :)



  2. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, ladies! The soup is really good; I hope you enjoy making it.