I’m getting old.


I’m getting old.  It must be 17 years ago that I have eaten this kind of soup. It was in France and it was the first time that I had something like Pesto. I didn’t like it then. However, the wisdom of age has come to me…

Don’t ask me, why I thought some weeks ago that I finally should try again this southern French Soupe au Pistou. I just thought about it. Maybe because of the sad basil plant which was waiting to be used.

After the lecture of several recipes that I could find in the internet (Ginette Mathiot doesn’t talk about it in her book la cuisine pour tous) and after having watched some videos about the preparation of the Soupe au Pistou, I noticed that there must be somewhere a real original recipe of this soup – but that it’s not possible for a German to decide what is original or not. It’s probably only possible to judge about it if you have a mother who comes from the Provence and who has learned from her mother (who also had learned from her mother and so on) how to make this soup. It’s probably like Apfelstrudel. Or Brezen. Or 1000 other things.

After my very scientifical research I concluded:

1. Further research is not really necessary – I got hungry.
2. There are some key ingredients to Soupe au Pistou: beans (red, green, and white – I didn’t have any red beans), carrots, potatoes, and zucchini as well as pasta. For the Pistou the key ingredient is basil, basil, basil.
3. I don’t care if my I-do-what-I-want-version would be approved by a French (for French guests I would cook something German anyways) – as soon as I like it.

…and I liked it! Oh, I loved it! Oh, it’s sooooo goooood! Why didn’t I make it earlier? It’s incredible how the Pistou gives a taste to the soup which contains only veggies that are boiled in salted water. No vegetable stock. Aaaah, greaaaaat!

This is what I did – the amount would be a full meal for 2:

Soak 1/4 cup (60 ml) of dried white beans in water for about 10-12 hours

Boil them in a lot of water in the pressure cooker for about 10 minutes. Drain them.

Meanwhile, chop

4 small potatoes (into cubes – size optimized for soup)
1 onion
2 carrots

Put everything into the pressure cooker. Add the beans (I added them later, but it would have been better to add them at this point). Close the pot and cook for 5 minutes under high pression.

Meanwhile chop 1 zucchino into rounds.

Let it cool down a little bit. Add about 200 g of green beans (I used frozen green beans; I don’t know how much it would have taken to boil fresh green beans… sorry) and the zucchini. As well as a little handful of pasta (a kind of pasta which is small enough for soup. I just used spaghetti which I had made small enough for soup…

Don’t close the lid, bring everything to a boil and let it boil for about 10 minutes. Add some pepper.

Meanwhile, make the Pistou:

Peel one tomato (cut it crosswise on top, put it in a small bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let it soak for some minutes, cool it with cool water under the tap and peel it.), then put away the seeds.

Put 1-2 handful of packed fresh basil leaves in the mortar. Add a pinch of salt, a garlic clove and pestle (??? what a weird word ;-) it well. Add the tomato, continue pestling. Add about one handful of grated Parmesan cheese.

Add one tblsp of the Pistou to the soup and stir well.

For serving, put the soup into a bowl and add about 1-2 tsp of Pistou.

At the end I remarked that I haven’t added any olive oil to the Pistou as I thought it was okay. But if you wish to change my recipe to your own taste: feel free, this is nothing original. You can’t do anything wrong!

By the way: if you want to use canned beans, I allow you to use them. And if you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook it in your normal pot and wait a little bit longer…

2 Responses to “I’m getting old.”

  1. You just reminded me that although I have at least three different recipes for soupe au pistou I’ve never made it. Now I want to make it and hate being confined to boring, mushy foods. The soup will have to wait a bit.

  2. Sounds great for a chilly autumn evening :-) I do love those kind of vegetable soups, whether they be French, Italian or Hungarian.

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