> Skip to content

Recipe  •  9 July 2020

 

Autumnal vegetable soup with basil, garlic & olive oil

One of the rather pathetic realities of the fact that so many of the restaurants in France are disappointing these days is the almost tearful joy in finding one that’s everything you would have hoped for, often from your childhood or teenage memories. Such a place is Le Bistro du Paradou near Arles.

I’ve mentioned the restaurant and this soup in the introduction to the book, and like all great dishes it takes me back to the evening I ate it. I remember the large green tureen it was served in and the wonderful scent of basil, olive oil and garlic. I also recall the animated chat round the table with my friend John Illsley, his wife Steph and my wife Sas about the French and about the realities of his band Dire Straits writing ‘Sultans of Swing’ in a council flat in Deptford.

S E RV E S  6 – 8

Ingredients: 

  • 100g dried beans, such as flageolet, cannellini or haricots, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, halved lengthways and finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme sprigs and parsley stalks)
  • 675g courgettes, cut into small dice
  • 450g tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into small dice
  • 100g fine green beans, topped, tailed and cut into 3–4 pieces
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 75g orzo or spaghetti, broken into small lengths
  • Salt and black pepper

To serve

  • Green
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method: 

Drain the soaked beans. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a pan, add the garlic and cook gently for 2–3 minutes. Add the beans and 1.25 litres of water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30–60 minutes, or until just tender. Add half a teaspoon of salt and simmer for another 5 minutes, then set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a large pan. Add the onion, leek and carrots and cook gently for 5–6 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the beans, their cooking liquor and the bouquet garni to the pan of softened vegetables. Add the courgettes, tomatoes and potatoes and another 1.25 litres of water, then season with 2 teaspoons of salt and some pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Add the green beans, peas and pasta to the pan and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked. Remove the pan from the heat, take out the bouquet garni and stir in the pistou. Check the seasoning and serve in warmed bowls, with some extra grated Parmesan cheese and a little jug of extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top.

 

Extracted from Rick Stein’s Secret France, published by Penguin Random House UK.
Text copyright © Rick Stein, 2019. Photography copyright © James Murphy 2019.


Rick Stein's Secret France Rick Stein

Almost twenty years after French Odyssey, which sold 280,000 copies, Rick returns to his beloved France to discover real, simple French cooking, distilled into this collection of 120 brand-new delicious recipes.

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all recipes
Recipe
Fudge cake slice

This recipe has been a fan favourite for over a decade. Cut it into slices for the kids or into tiny squares as a treat with your cuppa. It also freezes well, so you can stash a few squares away for when no one is looking.

Recipe
Lasagne soup with cheesy garlic melts

This hearty soup is a proper hug in a mug. The ricotta and Parmesan topping really fulfills the 'lasagne' promise, but if you don’t want to bother you can just top it with grated cheese and it’ll still be a winner. The super-cheesy garlicky toasties are a good addition to any tomatoey soup — or just eat them on their own!

Recipe
Chocolate, tahini banana bread

I have been making a banana bread with chocolate and tahini on repeat for a while now, and every time I’ve eaten it over the last year or so, I couldn’t help thinking that the particular combination of intense chocolatiness, sweet, texture-softening banana and the rich earthiness of tahini would make the perfect warm pudding.

Recipe
Chicken in a pot with lemon and orzo

This is not exactly the same as perhaps the most precious recipe in my repertoire, My Mother’s Praised Chicken, which found a home in my eighth book, Kitchen, but it owes a lot to it. A family favourite, it’s a simple one-pot dish which brings comfort and joy, and it is my pleasure to share that with you.

Recipe
Snausage Rolls

Sausage rolls will always be über-cool, no matter what anyone says. They're always the first to be nabbed at morning tea, classily dressed-up with a generous splurt of store-bought tomato sauce... crispy, juicy little taste bombs. 

Recipe
My kinda butter chicken

With fragrant spices, tomatoes, cashew butter and yoghurt.

Recipe
Easiest broccoli quiche

With red pesto-layered filo, Cheddar and cottage cheese.

Recipe
Crispy salmon tacos

With cajun spice, mango, sweet cherry tomatoes and lime.

Recipe
Spicy sprout and mushroom noodles with five-spice

Sprouts (and the whole brassica family) go fantastically with Asian flavours. Out of season, use a mix of the rest of the brassicas – broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, spring greens etc. You could also make a spring version with asparagus and peas.

Recipe
Tuscan chicken casserole

We ate many dishes similar to this while spending time in Italy and they were all different depending on the part of Tuscany that we were in. This is our version of a Tuscan chicken casserole and it’s very moreish and flavoursome. I love it in the winter and any leftovers get tossed through some pasta the next day.

Recipe
Portobello steaks and butter bean mash

A vegetarian recipe that is simply as good as any steak (with mash), if not better.

Recipe
Berry platter with sheep’s labneh and orange oil

A fruity dish from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage.

Looking for more recipes?

See all recipes