vegetable guilt. What is it? It's the feeling you have when your CSA box arrives before you've finished the vegetables from the week before. Some of your lettuce is squishy, with a few squash looking ready for compost. Never fear. I've got a recipe for you to use your extra eggplant, tomatoes, onions, and even those white beans from the winter.
This recipe was adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. She considered this a peasant soup. I like it because it bridges the seasons. You use fresh summer ingredients, but have the earthy, warm flavors that help you coast right into Autumn. This is a great soup to add sausage, ham or bacon to. Freeze the soup, and add the meat of your choice later.
The recipe starts out with Northern Bean in a quick boil and soak. While they're soaking, wash and I mean wash the leeks. Everything is going to be pureed, so you can dice the leeks then rinse under running water. There's nothing worse than skimping on this part, then getting a sandy bite of soup later.
With butter and olive oil, cook the leeks until they're translucent and tender. I added sage, thyme, salt and pepper to them while they were cooking. When the beans are finished, add the leeks to the bean & water and simmer partially covered for 1 and 1/2 hours. Julia is very exact. Once the soup base has simmered, carefully puree the mixture until smooth. Be careful- hot soup and blenders don't aways play well together.
While the base is simmering, peel, dice and salt the eggplant. You'll also peel, seed, and dice the tomatoes. Be sure to save the juice. To easily peel a tomato, heat water to simmer. Make an X on the bottom the tomato and gently drop into the water for about 30 seconds. Lift out with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water. The skin should slip right off. Then, cut in half, and run your index fingers in the seed pockets to remove the seeds. Then... dice!
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Soupe a la Victorine
(Purée of White Bean Soup with Eggplant and Tomato)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child
About 4-6 cups
For the Beans:
1 quart water
1/3 cup Great Northern Beans
In a big enamel pot or stock pot, Bring the water to a boil, add the bean and boil for two minutes, then cover and remove from the heat. Let rest for one hour
For the Soup Base:
2 cups leeks or leeks/onions
2-3 T oil or butter
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp each of thyme and sage, dried or 2-3 springs fresh
1 1/2 tsp salt
Cook the leeks and onions in the butter/oil until soft and translucent. Add to the beans (with their water) and add the herbs. Cook for 1 1/2 hours covered slightly. When the base has finished simmering, purée in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender.
To finish the Soup:
1 1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 pound or about 3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces with the juice saved.
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
2-3 T olive oil
2-3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2-3 T fresh herbs for garnish (parsley, chives, thyme)
Sprinkle the salt over the Egglant and let it stand for about 20 minutes. Pat dry. Heat the oil in a large skillet and sauté the Egglant until light brown. Add the garlic and tomatoes. Simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes or until the eggplant is tender.
Thin the leek/bean mixture with the stock to desiredconsistency, then add the eggplant/garlic/tomato mixture. Simmer for about 5 minutes, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Then serve, adding the fresh herbs to the top. Your could also add sliced browned sausage, or kielbasa.
Heat a enameled dutch oven or frying pan the oil until it's hot. Add the eggplant and toss to give it a nice brown crisp outside. Add the tomatoes, and the garlic. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or unti the egglant is nice and tender. Add this mixture to the pureed soup base and adjust the seasonings. I needed to add a little more salt and lots of pepper. To serve, garnish with fresh herbs such as sage, thyme or chives.