Recipe courtesy of Wolfgang Puck

Vegetable Soup with Sweet Basil

The simple soup my mother makes from the vegetables she grows in her own garden next to the house where I grew up in St. Viet, Carinthia, Austria, is very little different from the following traditional French recipe: just lots of good, fresh vegetables and some liquid to cook them in.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 45 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

2 small leeks, white part only

1 large potato, peeled

1 small onion

2 stalks celery

1 medium zucchini

12 green beans

2 medium carrots, peeled

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons water

1/2 gallon chicken stock (or 1/2 gallon water, 4 bouillon cubes, a pinch of thyme, and 1/2 bay leaf)

6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded

4 medium garlic cloves

30 fresh basil leaves, washed and dried

Salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Cut the leeks, potato, onion, celery, zucchini, green beans, and carrots into 1/4-inch dice.
  2. In a 6-quart stockpot, combine 3 tablespoons of the olive oil with the water. Add the vegetables and saute over medium-low heat until all the water evaporates. Do not brown the vegetables.
  3. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cook at a gentle boil for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, put the tomatoes, basil, garlic, and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Pulse until pureed.
  5. Stir the puree into the cooked soup. Do not let the soup return to a boil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve the soup hot or cold from a tureen or in individual bowls.
  6. Cook's Note: My mother uses only water, because her vegetables are peak-of-season, just-picked, and therefore full of flavor; but you can use stock if you like. Pistou, the puree of tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil in this recipe, is a traditional French condiment that adds a burst of flavor just before serving.

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