When I say that our vegetable soup is every day, in the winter that’s literally the case. I make a huge pot of it over the weekend and we have a bowl every evening. Sometimes, depending upon what we had for lunch, it is our evening meal with a piece of cheese and some lovely bread and fruit for dessert.
My recipe is totally artisanal, no measuring ever. I just throw into the pot whatever strikes my fancy or whatever looks particularly appealing at the market. As I’ve mentioned before, I have lots of friends at our market and I always ask their advice on what vegetables they like at the moment. Then I pose the same question to our lovely cheese lady.
My soups tend to have a similar base every week, which includes:
Carrots ( lots and lots.)
Leeks (two, maximum three)
Baby turnips (I have always hated turnips, but these are wonderful. About six)
Celery (six stalks, plus the leaves)
Courgette (two or three, depending upon the size)
Everything is cut-up into nice bit-size chunks.
Tomatos (since they tend not to be good in the winter, canned are better)
Spinach ( a handful or two)
Haricots verts (We eat lots of green beans, so if I have extras, I throw them into the pot.)
Corn: (I could, but haven’t yet. Why not?)
You must be wondering about potatoes. Yes, there are potatoes, but I always cook them separately from the soup and add them in when re-heating, otherwise I find the potatoes get unpleasantly soggy.
My-Reason-For-Living-In-France and I have a difference of opinion over vegetable soup. He likes his with all the vegetable morsels evident in his bowl; I like mine mixed into a volouté potage. I also like the soup his way, but I like to mix it up — literally. I use my trusty hand mixer, which gives me the creamy, thick soup I love without having to transfer liquids into bowls and other vessels, particularly when it’s hot.
Then, of course, I add a heaping tablespoon of crème fraîche into the volouté.
All ingredients are covered with lots of water. If I have my homemade chicken bouillon in the freezer, it goes in. Often I’ll add herbs like: parsley, coriander, chervil and even a little mint.
It changes the taste entirely if I sauté the leeks and a couple of shallots in olive oil and a dab of butter before adding the other ingredients.
I tend not to add salt or pepper during the cooking phase. We add them at table.
Now, aren’t you glad you asked? This isn’t exactly a recipe, but I promise you this is the way I do it. The best thing about soupe aux legumes is that you really can’t do anything wrong and if you don’t like what you’ve created, you can always add another ingredient or an herb and voilà, a new soup.