Soupe au Pistou

A recipe from Provence which Uma learned to prepare as a young woman.

Borlotti beans

Borlotti beans (haricots coco)

With her mother and father otherwise occupied, the young Uma learned many things from her dog and several Provençal women engaged to take care of her – how to fight off a pack of wild dogs, the benefits of various herbs, and how to make Soupe au Pistou which is a traditional Provençal dish.

This is Uma’s own recipe for tantrikas (without garlic). In accordance with tradition it uses three types of beans – two green and one shelled. You can experiment with different beans if you can’t get the ones specified.


Crimson cranberry beans

Crimson cranberry beans

1. Prepare the haricots coco also known as Borlotti beans or Roman beans. They are an Italian variety of cranberry beans. If they are dried then presoak them. If they are fresh then shell them. Dried beans or more mature fresh ones will need part cooking before adding to the soup. Drain the beans if precooked. Young fresh ones are the best option if you can get them. (You need 100-150gm shelled.)

2. Cut up a large, preferably white, onion and add it to a saucepan with a tablespoon (15ml) of olive oil. Start sweating the onion on a gentle heat.

3. Cut 2 medium courgettes (20cm) and a large carrot into small cubes. Cut up 100gm haricots verts (French green beans) and 100gm flat green beans.

4. When the onion starts to become clear, add the courgettes, carrot, and all three types of beans. Cook for 10-20 minutes on a low heat until the beans and other vegetables are tender. Add salt to taste.

Coeur du Boeuf

Coeur du Boeuf

5. While waiting, take a large sun-ripened tomato, preferably Cœur du bœuf (beef tomato) and remove the skin with a knife. If it is sufficiently ripe, the skin will come off easily; if not, you may need to blanch the tomato in boiling water to loosen the skin. Mash the tomato to make a pulp.

6. Take a good handful of fresh basil and crush it with a pestle and mortar. Add a tablespoon (15ml) of olive oil and make into a paste (pistou means ‘pounded’ in the Provençal language).

Soupe au Pistou

Un plat de Soupe au Pistou!

7. When the vegetables are tender, add the tomato pulp and the basil paste. Stir in for a couple of minutes and the soup is ready to serve.

8. Voilà!





Recipe from Uma and Tameer

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