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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