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Vegetable and Garlic Soup

Around June 23rd, in France, many country fairs still celebrate Saint Jean – the midsummer festival and the feast day of Saint John the Baptist. The town of Uzes holds a garlic festival in common with many other towns and villages and you can smell the aroma of garlic in the air.  This is a recipe from that region.

Serves 6

1 tbsp olive oil

225g chopped streaky bacon with rind removed

450g each of carrots and potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 large onions, finely chopped

250g swede or turnips, finely chopped

2 courgettes chopped

6-8 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

sprigs of thyme and marjoram or oregano

2 bay leaves

2 large tomatoes roughly chopped

1 can flageolet beans, drained and rinsed

salt and freshly ground pepper

croutons – toast slices of baguette and rub with raw garlic

handful freshly grated gruyere or cheddar

  1. Heat the oil and sauté the bacon pieces until well cooked.  Add the prepared vegetables and garlicand sauté for a few minutes until they start to colour.
  2. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper, add the herbs then cover and cook gently for an hour.
  3. Add the tomatoes and beans then cook for 15 minutes.

Check the seasoning, remove the sprigs of herbs and serve piping hot with the croutons covered in grated cheese