Thursday, February 25, 2010

Provencale Soup

Here's another meal with a French twist. According to Julia Child, in the French Chef Cookbook, the soup of Provence is based on a broth of tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and beans. Then seasonal vegetables are added at the last moment, and the whole thing is topped off with a pesto like topping. I've altered this soup to both increase the healthy aspects and, more importantly, to simplify the cooking process. No longer is it necessary to spend all day in the kitchen cooking soup. What remains the same is that the soup base is cooked first and the fresh vegetables are added last, so that they retain their bright colors.


1 quart boxed or canned low sodium vegetable stock
1 quart water
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped potatoes
1 cup chopped onion

2 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs dried basil
1 Tbs dried parsley

1 can kidney or cannellini beans
1 cup green beans, frozen or fresh, cut into 1 inch lengths
1/2 cup green peas, frozen or fresh
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup small pasta
1/4 tsp saffron

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Heat the broth, water, carrots, potatoes, and onions in a large stockpot. Bring to a low boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and spices. Also add the beans, peas, peppers, pasta, and saffron. Cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the pasta is cooked to your taste. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve, topping each bowl with a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: If you're looking to add vegetables to your diet, this soup fits the bill! To simplify this recipe further, just use a can of "Italian Style" Tomatoes in place of the tomato paste, garlic, basil, and parsley. Just chop the tomatoes before you add them to the soup.

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