Salt, Pepper and a Dollop of Cream

One Woman's Journey through Her Cookbooks

Soupe au Pistou

soupe au pistou

What is going on with the weather? Autumn seemed to only last two days and now it’s like Winter is upon us with the cold! Yes, it’s definitely comfort food weather.  I had promised in my last post to share some soup and stew recipes.  Well, who know how soon these recipes would be welcomed in Chez SPC!

Yesterday, I trialled my version of Soupe au Pistou, drawing inspiration from a recipe from an old New Convent Garden Soup Company cookbook that I’ve had for years as well as others online.  It’s not authentic, more a nod to the traditional soup. I think it’s more of a Summer recipe but heck, I’d most of the vegetables already in the fridge and they needed using up along with a couple of tins of mixed beans with a super fast approaching BBF date (not that I think it’s really a problem with tinned beans)!

I’ll be honest, the vegetables were time consuming to prepare. While the recipes called for the vegetables to be chopped into 2cm dice, I said to myself, nah, looks too chunky and knowing Hubby as I do, the chunkier is not the better… Besides, cutting them smaller meant the soup cooked more quickly. Well, there has to be some trade off for the time spent chopping!!

So, I diced the veg into smaller pieces, chopped onions, sliced leeks, emptied tins and the soup came together gloriously.  I placed a large bowl in front of Hubby to which I received a “What the hell?” look and offered him the pistou to add to his liking – which he didn’t.  I said, “Add it, it makes all the difference.”  The pistou is ESSENTIAL and lifts this soup to the sublime.  You need it.  Do not skimp on it either people!  Later on he confessed that he did like it and that he would eat it again and that it was very filling…

I’ve enough soup for myself for 4 lunches so happy me.  I’m just back from the allotment after doing a bit of a workout with the weeds and gathering the last of my courgettes.  It’s a breezy, sunny day outside but now I’m home, I’m happy to cosy myself up with a warm bowl of soup.  Happy days.

Soupe au Pistou

Ingredients for the soup:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 carrots
½ swede
1 stick of celery
2 waxy potatoes (I used Kerr’s Pinks)
2 courgettes
1 leek
1 packet of French beans (approx 170g)
1 litre+ of water
1 vegetable stock cube – I used a Knorr stockpot
2 tsp fresh oregano
2 large tomatoes
A good handful of broad beans
2 tins of mixed beans, rinsed and drained
A good handful of macaroni or broken up spaghetti
Salt & black pepper


Slice the leek thinly and wash in a sieve.
Dice the onion, carrots, swede, celery, potatoes and courgettes to about ½ to 1cm in size.
Top and tail the French beans and cut into 2cm lengths or thereabouts.
Wash and slice the leek thinly.
Add olive oil to a Dutch pan and sweat the vegetables on a low to moderate heat for about 10 minutes.
Add water and bring to a boil adding the stock cube and oregano. Reduce the heat to low and keep the pan on a simmer.
Chop up the tomatoes and add to the pan. I don’t bother skinning them.  Life’s too short.
Add the broad beans and mixed beans.
Add the macaroni.
Check the water level in the pot and add more if needed to cover the vegetables.
Give the soup a good stir frequently to stop the pasta sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Check after 20 minutes to see if the vegetables are soft. The swede will take the longest to cook.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ingredients for the Pistou:

A large bunch of basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic
100g grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil to add for consistency and to taste
Salt to taste


Blitz the basil, garlic and parmesan cheese in a food processor.
Add the olive oil slowly while the processor is running until the ingredients come together as a pesto with a thick consistency.
Add salt to taste. Add more olive oil if necessary and blitz again very briefly just to combine.

{This pistou/pesto can be stored in a sterilised jar in the fridge for a few weeks.  Just check it every so often and top up with olive oil if it’s starting to dry out}

Pour portions of the soup into bowls and top with spoonfuls of the pistou.  A chunky piece of bread on the side wouldn’t go amiss either!

Xx Enjoy!

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