Maman Blanc’s Vegetable Soup, Three-Ways


1 small                                  white onion1 medium                             potato1 tbsp                                    unsalted butter1                                             garlic clove¼ or small turnip 1                                             large carrot½                                            celery stick 1 medium                              courgette½ medium                             leek1 small                                   tomatoSea salt and freshly ground white pepper1.2 litre                                  boiling water A large handful of fresh chervil, roughly chopped

To finish the soup (optional)

1 tbs                                       crème fraiche

Preparing the vegetables, sweating the onion and potatoes:

First, peel the onion, potato, garlic, turnip and carrot

Then, dice the onion, potato, turnip and carrot about 1cm cubes

Slice the garlic.

Slice the courgette and celery.

Quarter the tomato.

Chop the chervil (reserve this).

On a low heat, in a large saucepan, soften the onion, the diced potato and the garlic in the butter for 5 minutes or so (do not let vegetables colour), we only want to partly cook them and this will help extract maximum flavour. Stir occasionally.

Add all of the remaining vegetables to the large saucepan, stir and sweat them for a further 5 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper. At this stage, add the boiling water

Boil fast for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender and the colour vivid.

Stir in the chopped chervil and simmer for 1 minute to keep the freshness of the chervil, and serve.

Finishing the soup:

Should you wish, stir in the crème fraiche or a little butter (or both!). Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary, then serve.

1st Variation – Blended Soup

Maman Blanc would often puree this wonderful soup with a hand blender, to create a divine garden offering.

2ndVariation – Pistou Soup

For the pistou:

1 small bunch Basil leaves and stalks      50ml               water50ml               extra virgin olive oil 1 small           clove garlicA good grating of parmesan

Blanch the basil in plenty of boiling water for 3-5 seconds (no more), to cook and fixate the chlorophyll, so keep its bright colour and doesn’t oxidise. Stop the cooking by plunging it into cold water. Drain, squeeze lightly to remove any excess water and roughly chop.

In a jug or beaker, liquidiser or hand blender, using the pulse button, purée all the ingredients until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add pistou to the Maman Blanc soup.