Slow Food for Thought...

“Defending the earth means safeguarding biodiversity, the landscape and farming. Those who haven’t seen the importance of farming haven’t understood anything!”
Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Warm Soup for Cold Days

Slow Food members and friends will enjoy these delicious winter soup recipes from Fred & Linda Griffith's kitchen.

Cabbage & Bean Soup au Pistou
From Garlic, Garlic, Garlic by Linda & Fred Griffith. (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1998.

Pistou is a garlicky, but nutless, Provençal version of Italy’s pesto. It is commonly served as a substantial garnish to a rich French vegetable and vermicelli soup. Our soup, however, is a refreshingly light bean soup that is quickly finished with some shredded cabbage.

Serves 8 to 10

1 pound dried Great Northern Beans, soaked overnight
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 packed cup fresh basil leaves
3 plump garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onion
3 plump garlic cloves, minced
4 large carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
10 cups rich chicken stock
6 cups shredded Savoy cabbage

Drain soaked beans. In a heavy saucepan, combine beans and add enough water to rise 2-inches above them. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer over very low heat until beans are somewhat tender, 11/4 to 11/2 hours.

Meanwhile, make pistou. In the bowl of a food processor, combine parmesan, basil and garlic. Pulse to chop finely. With motor running, slowly add olive oil to make a smooth paste. Transfer pistou to a bowl. If holding more than 1 hour, cover and refrigerate.

While beans are cooking, heat olive oil over low heat in a heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add onion and garlic. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until quite wilted, 6 to 8 minutes. Add chicken stock, carrots, salt and pepper. Keep warm until beans are ready.

Drain beans and add to stock mixture. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until beans are tender. Stir in cabbage, cover and cook for 10 minutes more, or until carrots and cabbage are ready.

Ladle into heated soup plates. Garnish lavishly with pistou.

Linda’s Carrot Ginger Soup

During a trip to Alaska we were served an absolutely splendid soup made with carrots and fresh ginger. The soup was thick and marvelously flavorful. One could enjoy both the freshness of the carrots and the delicious fresh ginger. Even when carrots are not local, when combined with fresh ginger, they do a pretty good job of reminding us that summer really isn’t all that far away. And this soup gives us a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction.

Serves 6-8

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely diced Spanish onion
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 pounds fresh carrots, cleaned, trimmed, thinly sliced
7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper

1/4 cup minced chives or green onions for garnish

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add onions and sauté until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in ginger and carrots, cover and continue to braise over very low heat until for 5 minutes more. Be careful that onions do not brown. Add stock. Cover, increase heat to medium-high and cook until liquids begin to bubble, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the carrots are falling apart. Remove soup from heat and let cool, somewhat. Purée with an immersion wand, in the bowl of a food processor, or in a Vita-Mix. Stir in lemon juice and zest, as well as the salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Reheat soup before serving and serve in warmed soup plates garnished with some minced chives.

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