Summer Vegetable Soup: Provencal Vegetable Soup #French Fridays with Dorie

I am exhausted. This was an excellent day to clean out my fridge by making Summer Vegetable Soup. This weekend I stayed in Manhattan with a group of East Coast French Friday with Dorie participates. We call ourselves Doristas.

We met on Friday and ventured over to 9th Avenue, this area is affectionately know as Hell’s Kitchen from it’s days as a rough and tumble slum area. These days it is the kitchen to many interesting inexpensive ethic restaurants. We had an excellent Thai lunch at Viv that included a starter and a main course for $28 for 3 people… not bad for Manhattan.

This lunch was a good balance to the extravagant dinner we had that evening at La Grenouille a French restaurant that is a New York institution. It has been in business for 50 years and it still receives excellent reviews.

There are not many places that the Dorista’s can dine on French food that is any better than what we can make at home.. La Grenouille truly topped our home cooked versions of many classic French meals. Plus, it’s legendary floral arrangements were truly magnificent. 

We spent Saturday shopping for foodie supplies: spices, salts, oils, and other exotic ingredients plus a a little bit of chocolate and some delicious baked goods at Chelsea Market.

In the afternoon we strolled through the High line park which is a raised railroad track that has been converted into a park. In the evening we retired to a tasty Italian meal near our hotel, Bistro Milano.

It is astounding how this international cooking group has brought so many people together… from the East and West Coast of the US… to Canada, Italy, Argentina, Germany… I just have to say thank you Dorie Greenspan for having us around your French table. You have enriched our lives with both good food and new friends.

Yes, and the soup… well, I’m back home with a fridge of wilting vegetables, so I threw this soup together in a simpler way than the original recipe. I made enough technique alterations to it that I will share my adaptation with you. 
Bon Appetit and Bonsoir.

Summer Vegetable Soup

by Diane Balch
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Provencal Vegetable Soup” from Around My French Table
3 tablespoons of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 chopped onion
4 cloves of garlic chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 large potato peeled and chopped
1/2 cup of green beans chopped
1 ear of corn kernels removed
2 medium tomatoes chopped
1 teaspoon of dried Thyme
1 teaspoon of dried Rosemary
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
1 can of Northern White Beans or Cannelloni
4 cups or one 32 ounce carton of Chicken Broth
for the pesto:
1 bunch of basil
parmesan cheese
1) Heat EVOO on medium high heat in a large sauce pan. Add the dried herbs to the oil so they can bloom. Next start by chopping and adding to the pan the densest vegetables to the lightest ones: onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, green beans, corn and lastly tomatoes. Sprinkle a bit of a salt and pepper on eat vegetable as you add and stir it.
2) Once all the vegetables wilt a little add the broth and the bay leaf and bring the soup to a boil. Low the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. It is done when the potatoes and carrots can easily be pierced with a fork.
NOTE: I like to let my soup sit for hours. The flavors really blend more over time.
3)  While your vegetables are simmering put a bunch of basil leaves in a food processor (a mini-processor is great for this) Add about one tablespoon of cheese and EVOO and give it a spin on high. Check if it is smooth enough for you, and if it is cheesy enough, if not add another tablespoon of EVOO/cheese.. continue until you get the consistency that you like.
4) Drizzle each bowl of soup with the pesto and serve with a big piece of crusty buttered bread.