Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette is resident monk at Our Lady of the Resurrection Monastery near Millbrook, New York, a monastery that lives under the rule of St. Benedict. There he cooks and tends the garden that supplies both the monastery and the local farmers' market. He is the author of the bestselling From a Monastery Kitchen as well as This Good Food, Table Blessings, and A Monastic Year.
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Chickpea Soup Ë la Proven■ale
2 cups dried chickpeas
1/2 cup olive oil
4 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
10 cups water
1/2 pound chopped spinach
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons herbs Proven■al (thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, bay leaf)
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
fried croutons (See recipe p. 195)
1. Soak the chickpeas overnight. Rinse them in cold water.
2. Pour the oil into a soup pot, add the thinly sliced leeks, and saut┌ gently over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the water, chickpeas, spinach, garlic, herbs, and seasonings.
3. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low-medium. Cover the pot and cook the soup slowly until the chickpeas are tender (50-60 minutes). Simmer for 15 minutes more.
4. When the soup is done, blend in a blender or food mill. Pour the soup back into the pot and reheat it. Serve the soup in hot bowls. Add butter and a few fried croutons to the top of each serving.
Chickpeas, or pois chiches, as they are called in France, have always been a favorite in the Proven■al cuisine--or, for that matter, in the cuisine of Mediterranean Europe. The combined flavors of the chickpeas, spinach, and leeks create a marvelous blend. And, of course, the leguminous nature of the chickpea adds an exquisite texture to the soup. To give a true "Proven■al" flavor to the soup, be generous in your use of Proven■al herbs and use a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil.
Chilled Carrot Soup
2 leeks, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 good-sized carrots, sliced
3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup half-and-half
thin slices of lemon or fresh mint leaves as garnish
1. Place the prepared vegetables in a soup pot, add stock and salt, and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are well cooked.
2. Add the ginger, lemon juice, and half-and-half. Stir well.
3. Blend the soup in a blender or food processor and then chill the soup for a few hours before serving. Serve the soup in glass bowls and garnish each with a thin lemon slice or with fresh mint leaves.
Garbure B┌arnaise (B┌arn Country Soup)
1 pound navy beans
4 quarts water
2 leeks, cut julienne style
2 turnips, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced
1 small cabbage, coarsely chopped
20 green beans
6 potatoes, peeled and left whole
bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, and 4 sprigs parsley, tied together and removed before serving)
6 sweet Italian sausages
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 pound salt pork (bacon fat)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Soak the navy beans overnight or at least for several hours. Drain and rinse them. Wash and prepare the vegetables. Pour water into a large soup pot and add all the vegetables except the potatoes, bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme, parsley tied together), and garlic. Cover the pot and cook the soup slowly over low-medium heat for about 1 l/2 hours. Add more water as necessary.
2. Add the whole potatoes, herbs, sausages, garlic and bacon fat and continue cooking slowly for another hour and 15 minutes. At this point, taste the seasonings and add salt and pepper. (It may need very little salt because of the salt pork). Take out the whole potatoes, sausage, and pork and keep them in a warm place. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes, remove the bouquet garni, and then serve it hot, accompanied by slices of French bread.
3. After the soup, serve the potatoes and the sausages on a separate plate (1 for each person), accompanied by a fresh green salad and more slices of French bread (you may pour some vinaigrette over the potatoes).
Garbure should be served at the table steaming hot, and it should be accompanied by plenty of French bread and red wine.
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