Ah….Soupe au Pistou – where do I begin to tell you how much I love this soup. Soupe au Pistou is hands-down my family’s favorite soup. I make it often. Quite often! This is my take on a classic French vegetable soup served with a simple pesto, only I add chicken to make it a little more filling…a little more of a meal all its own…and because I love homemade chicken vegetable soup. Even though the weather was warm and the sky sunny last Sunday, I was in the mood for a large pot of this soup. I like to make soup on Sunday mornings, so I can go about my business of the day…running errands, doing chores, etc. …then when I’m ready for a little nourishment, I already have something wonderful and healthy waiting for me.
It’s impossible to have a hurried bowl of this Soupe au Pistou ….. no…this is a soup to savor with plenty of crusty bread and healthy dollops of pistou. I love to crowd this soup with plenty of fresh vegetables from the farmers market. Sometimes, I’ll also add a little zucchini and yellow squash. Adding the pistou (with its ensemble of flavors) to this soup is what makes this soup gloriously scrumptious….and it’s what makes this soup… our favorite.
I hope you enjoy this hearty Soupe au Pistou as much as we do!
~ xo Deb
Soupe au Pistou
1 large chicken
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups distilled water
3 sprigs flat leaf parsley
2 sprigs thyme
3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, split, germ removed and minced
2 leeks, minced (white parts only)
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
3 tablespoons white wine (or sherry)
6-8 baby red potatoes, quartered
3/4 cup green beans (haricots verts)
1 cup canned chickpeas (rinsed)
3 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and cut into small cubes
1/3 cup pasta
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Add the chicken and chicken broth , distilled water, parsley and thyme sprigs to a stock pot, and cook until the chicken starts to fall off the bone. Remove the chicken and sprigs from the broth and set aside to cool. After it has cooled, chop the chicken and discard the skin and bones and sprigs. Strain the broth to remove any fat.
In a separate pot, bring salted water to a boil and add the noodles. Cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Saute the onion, leeks, garlic, carrots, and celery until translucent (about 10 minutes). Add the wine and let simmer for a minute more. Add the chopped chicken, onion, leeks, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, haricots verts, chickpeas and tomatoes to the broth. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the noodles. Be careful not to overcook the noodles.
For the Pistou:
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
Combine the basil, garlic, cheese in a food processor or blender and process. While the motor is running, and the olive oil in a slow, thin stream. Continue to process until the pistou until you reach your desired consistency. To keep the pistou from turning brown on top…place a tablespoon of olive oil on the top of the pistou then seal tightly.