French Farmer's Soup
Why I Love This Recipe
FEATURING: Rabioles (or turnips), carrots, onions, celery root (or celery), garlic and parsley.
This hearty soup makes the most of root vegetables, paired with baby lima beans. If you have more time, you can substitute 1 1/4 cup of dried flageolet or lima beans (instead of 3 cups of cooked beans) and cook them according to instructions below.
Traditionally, this soup also takes 1/4 lb. bacon or pancetta (optional) that are cooked on the side and, when cooked, added to the soup, 10 minutes before serving. See recipe here: http://www.finecooking.com/recipe/french-farmers-soup
TO MAKE THE BEANS (if you use dried beans): Put the beans in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover the beans by 3 inches. Soak for 4 to 12 hours.
Drain the beans, rinse them, and transfer to a 3- or 4-quart saucepan. Add the garlic clove, bay leaf, and 6 cups cold water. Partially cover to limit evaporation and simmer gently, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes, until the beans are tender and almost creamy inside, without being mealy or mushy, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
When the beans are about three-quarters done, season with 3/4 tsp. salt. If at any time the liquid doesn’t cover the beans, add 1 cup fresh water. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid, and discard the bay leaf.
Ingredients You'll Need
3 cups cooked flageolets or baby lima beans, cooked and rinsed
1 medium clove garlic, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup leeks, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped (or approx. 1 tsp dried thyme)
1 cup peeled carrots, cut in 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
1 cup peeled celery root, cut in 1/2-inch dice (or celery- it will give a milder taste to the soup)
1 cup peeled rabioles (or turnips), cut into 1/2-inch dices
1/2 cup of orzo (optional)
5 to 6 cups of vegetable broth
1 to 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 cup homemade croutons ---- SEE RECIPE FOR CROUTONS BELOW
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 large clove garlic, crushed and peeled
2 to 3 cups of bread, cut in cubes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp dried rosemary (or 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
MAKE THE CROUTONS: Cut bread in 3/4 in cubes. Heat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, mix the oil, garlic clove (mashing and breaking it up slightly with a wooden spoon), rosemary, oregano, thyme, and salt. Add cubed bread. Toss to distribute evenly. Spread the cubes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden all the way around, turning once or twice with a spatula, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool.
MAKE THE SOUP: Heat the olive oil in a 4- to 5-quart soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and leeks to the pot, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until they begin to soften but not brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute.
Add the carrots, celery root, rabioles (white turnips), and 2 cups of the broth. Partially cover and simmer until the vegetables are just barely tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Add the beans and 4 cups of the broth. Add orzo, if using. Stir and simmer, partially covered, for approx. 10 minutes (until orzo is ready). Add the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Top each serving with a small handful of croutons and a sprinkle of parsley.