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Soupe au Pistou (Roasted Vegetable Soup with Oregano-Thyme Pesto)

Soupe au Pistou

I know I promised to post the recipe for Chili Stuffed Poblano Peppers but I have to make a bit of a detour because I made a promise to a friend. Last week I officially launched this blog and the corresponding Facebook page and was overwhelmed by all the encouraging feedback I received from friends and family. I broke 100 likes day one which made me happy. The 100th like was Robin Mc, Thibault’s brother. He joked on Facebook, asking if he won anything for being number 100. I joked back that I would create a recipe in his honor. And he insisted it be a french provençal recipe.

Et voilà, une soupe Provençale pour un enfant de Provençe. And one that his gluten-free girlfriend, Fi can enjoy too!

This soup was primarily inspired by Robin, yes, but the Roasted Vegetable Ribollita from Big Vegan by Robin Asbell provided the inspiration for a few steps in the process. Smashed cannellini beans add creaminess to the deep, rich flavors of the roasted vegetables and each bite resounds with a hint of sweetness from the roasted garlic.  The roughly chopped oregano-thyme pesto with pine nuts and walnuts provides a very pleasant crunch to round out an exceptionally tasty bite, if I do say so myself.

1 1/2 large red onions, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 zucchinis, chopped
4 small or 2 large carrots, chopped
1 1/2 fennel bulbs, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
12 cloves garlic, peeled
6 tablespoons tomato paste
2 14 oz can cannellini beans
8 cups vegetable broth (store bought or homemade)
salt and pepper to taste

Oregano-thyme Pesto:
1 bunch fresh oregano leaves (5 – 6 tablespoons), chopped
1 bunch fresh thyme leaves (5 – 6 tablespoons), chopped
4 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
4 tablespoons pine nuts, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of salt

Heat the oven to 425 F. Place the garlic cloves in a square of foil, add a very small dash of oil just so they won’t stick to the foil and wrap up to make a pouch. Put in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until soft. Remove and set aside.

If you are making the broth, get out your two largest saucepans, one for the soup and one for the broth. As you chop the vegetables throw all the ends, scraps and skins into one of the saucepans and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer while you are roasting the vegetables.

Place all the chopped vegetables in a large deep roasting pan or two smaller, more shallow ones. Oil the bottom of the pan just slightly so the vegetables won’t stick. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes. Stir once and bake for 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, mash the garlic cloves and 1/2 the cannellini beans with a fork or potato masher. Drain the broth into the second large saucepan and add the tomato paste. Add the vegetables, garlic and cannellini beans, mashed and whole. Salt and pepper to taste and let simmer while you make the pesto.

To make the pesto, roughly chop the herbs and nuts together. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. No need to use a food processor or oil here, the object is to preserve a dry, crumbly texture which graces the soup with a nice crunch.

Oregano-Thyme Pesto

Makes 8-10 servings.

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