Sunday, December 11, 2011

Soupe Bonne Femme – a pot of gold!

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Liquid gold...

This week, the weather has been perishing (is that a uniquely Irish expression?). Every few minutes the windows are rattled by the machinegun fire of yet another shower of hail. Between hail showers, a rainbow appears, in the same spot, every day. My own personal rainbow! It is very camera shy. In the time it takes me to remove the lens cap, the gorgeous arc of light has disappeared to make way for the next hail shower.
Today I was determined, and lay in wait, camera at the ready. I got my photo but was absolutely frozen by the time I had captured the image.  You know that leprechauns bury their gold at the end of the rainbow, don’t you? Now I have a record of where to dig!

You know that leprechauns bury their gold at the end of the rainbow, don’t you?

Soup is the best way to reheat a frozen body. In the vegetable basket was one solitary carrot, a head of celery, a skinny leek and some tatties. In the fridge was a jug of chicken stock from yesterday's roast. They may sound meagre, but these simple ingredients make a magical soup called Soupe Bonne Femme – Good Wife Soup. Perhaps, once upon a time, the measure of a good wife was being able to make something pretty wonderful from almost nothing. This is a soup of endless variation – feel free to add rice, pasta, onions – but make sure to use good quality chicken stock if you want a pot of liquid gold.
Simple ingredients, magical food

For 4 generous servings you will need…
50g butter
1 carrot, sliced
1 leek, finely sliced
1 stick celery, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium potatoes (tennis-ball sized), diced
800mls good-quality chicken stock
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

1.         Melt the butter over a low heat and add the prepared vegetables. Stir to coat with the melted butter, then cover with a lid and continue cooking gently for ten minutes. You want the vegetables to soften without colouring.
2.         Add the stock, and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently with the lid on for 15 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper only if needed. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve with good bread.

Right, I'm off to find that leprechaun's gold - wish me luck!
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23 comments:

wok with ray said...

Simple to make but robust with flavor and nutrients. This soup is what I need on this colder weather. Have a great week ahead! :)

Lizzy said...

Oh, how fantastic...simple, comfort food! It is bitter cold here today...perfect soup weather...and I'd love to have a pot of your soup simmering on the stove top~

motherrimmy said...

What a beautiful, warming soup. I can see why you waited for your rainbow. That picture is incredible. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Kristin said...

I love the name of this soup! This sounds like comfort food at its best, simple and nourishing.

firefoodie said...

Amazing, there is an IDENTICAL Italian soup made with chicken stock, and served with rice or pasta and the veggies from the stock (plus lashings of grated parmesan cheese). It's called 'brodo', which simply translates to 'broth'. Good wives, grandmothers, aunts and even husbands should learn how to make this.. :)

Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. said...

Your soup looks delicious and heart-warming! Just how soup should be!

Ann said...

The soup sounds delicious! I love simple ingredients paired well! Best of luck with the pot of gold!

WiseMóna said...

Oh Hester. The importance of being able to make a good pot of soup is sadly overlooked these days. Soup is something I cannot live without and once of the worst things to buy in the shops due to such an overload in sodium or other crap. I love this recipe. It is the mark of a fine wife indeed to be able to whip up something to flavourful. Remember that story about 'stone soup'? Still one of my favourites....Hope you have found that gold!

Jill Colonna said...

Hester - trust you to magic up a few simple old ingredients and turn it into a pot of gold. Love this post - and that photo of the rainbow is stunning. Well done. Perishing is something I'm preparing for in Scotland shortly, too, my goodness. Cheers to your golden pots of warming soup!

Tina said...

Great post! Who would not want this delicious soup. Tasty, easy to make with very little ingredients. Sometimes simple does make for the best dishes-yum. I am ready to have that bowl of soup.

Purabi Naha said...

That soup looks really comforting! I loved the soup because it is simple and nourishing! Tanks for the wonderful post!

Grubarazzi said...

happy sigh. What a beautiful soup. The butter in this is key. :) I love seeing the brown bread on the side. and what a beautiful rainbow!

Claudia said...

Do you know - this is my favorite thing in the world. Yes, I love pasta, bread, sweets - the whole gamut - but a brothy soup with vegetables always bring me to my quiet, zen state! This is beautiful - as is the rainbow - I'd be out there trying to find the elusive pot of gold also!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

It's so true - simple ingredients, magical food! It's nutritious and makes us warm and happy. Perfect soup!

Celia said...

Congrats on the Top 9! I love your dedication in getting the rainbow - I've been planning a time-specific (early early morning) shoot for my personal photography efforts and your patience is inspiring. Perhaps I'll make some of this delicious, simple, classic soup and take it in a Thermos to warm up...

Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes said...

I'm so loving this, Hester!

We are having a serious monsoon right now -this week has been perishing here in AZ, too- so I am planning to make your soup for myself tonight to warm up.

Thanks for the comfort-in-a-bowl recipe!! :)

Cucina49 said...

That is simple--but it looks powerfully good. What a fabulous early-winter concoction.

Little Housewife said...

I looked for that pot of gold and I looked and I live in Ireland- no sign! Hahaha, on a side note I do love your recipe, I wonder will I be able to do it with bullion from chicken-bone-soup that I make nearly every week... Anyways thanks for inspiration, its this time of the year when we all need to warm up! Wishing you all the best, stay cozy!

Parsley Sage said...

I would stand outside in the cold for an hour just to have an excuse to make this soup. I'm loving every element. Especially the 'tatties.' Heh. 'Tatties'

Are they anything like 'Taytos' my friend Norma brought me back after her last trip home to Ireland? ;)

Hester Casey said...

@ firefoodie - I guess anywhere that has chickens has a version of this simple soup. Hard to believe it can be so good with so few ingredients.
@ Claudia - yes, brothy soup = zen state for me too
@ Celia - definitely worth getting up early to take photos but probably need that thermos...
@ Littlehousewife - homemade chicken buillon, perfect!
@ Parsley Sage - Taytos - love them!

Magic of Spice said...

Love the rainbow image :) Beautiful soup Hester, pure comfort!

raquel said...

the photo of rainbow is stunning... This reminds me of my mother who also used to make huge batches of it.

Joy said...

The soup is perfect for this time of year.