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Recipe for Pistou soup from Provence

Like a rather more exotic minestrone soup, pistou soup from Provence is also rather more filling. It’s a staple dish in the south of France and absolutely delicious featuring plenty of garlic, pistou – a pesto-like flavouring and lots of vegetables.

Pistou soup for 4

For the pistou

2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons fresh basil chopped fine
30 g/2oz grated parmesan cheese
75ml (5fl oz) olive oil

For the soup

2 carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion , chopped fine
Olive oil for frying
Tin chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
2 leeks trimmed and sliced.
2 courgettes, chopped
2 tins beans – can be borlotti, canellini, green beans, haricot etc (two different types of beans works well) or even frozen peas.

To make the pistou

Mix the garlic, tomato paste, basil and cheese together until you have a fine paste (in a mortar and pestle is traditional).

Whisk in the olive oil a drop at a time – works best in a food processor.

To make the soup

Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and sauté the chopped onion, garlic and leeks for about 5 minutes.

Add the rest of the vegetables, the beans (drain them first) and tomatoes. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer until the vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes on a low heat).

When you serve the soup – add a spoonful of pesto and stir in.

More delicious southern French recipes

Daube Nicoise – a tasty southern stew

Calissons de Provence – delectable little biscuity cakes

Fougasse – scrumptious flat bread

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