"Of soup and love, the first is best." Brother Victor-Antoine makes a passionate case for this Spanish proverb in Twelve Months of Monastery Soups, bringing easy, delicious, soul-satisfying soup recipes from the monastery to your kitchen. From simple, clear broths to thick, hearty soups, there's a recipe to appeal to every taste. Arranged by month with an eye toward seasonal variety and at least one recipe for every vegetable native to North America, the 175 soups include classic favorites such as Cream of Corn and Tomato and more unique recipes such as Jerusalem Artichoke, Provenþal Rainbow, and Danish Onion-Champagne. With inspirational quotes proclaiming the goodness of soup sprinkled throughout and beautiful period block prints, Twelve Months of Monastery Soups is a celebration of the art of soup-making.
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About the Author
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.
Read an Excerpt
Chickpea Soup Ó la Provenþale
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 Provenþal (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 sauté 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 Provenþal cuisineor, 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 "Provenþal" flavor to the soup, be generous in your use of Provenþal 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 Béarnaise (Béarn 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I forgot to mention in my review that while this is not intended to be a vegetarian cookbook, most of the recipes are already vegetarian or can be easily modified to suit any vegetarian diet.
What a fantastic book! For the soup lover, this collection is all you need. The recipes range from fairly easy to fairly complicated (not recommended for the novice cook). Especially recommend the tuscan tomato-bread soup...a winner!
Nice recipes with history intwined just a nice book on some forgotten soups
This is the ultimate soup book. Everything in it is delicious. And I think I have tried nearly everything- but I'm not systematic enough to know for sure, and I've had it too long to remember. If I don't know what to make for dinner, chances are I have the ingredients and time for one of Br. Victor Antoine's wonderful soups. He regularly saves the day. Some of his regular ingredients are permanently on my pantry shelf now. I've had this book for years, and it is one thing that all of my children asked for when they left home. This is a year 'round soup book that you don't put away in the spring. Twelve months of soups means it is a seasonal cookbook, and so seasonable ingredients are generally in your refrigerator. He does cook with leeks, which were not often on my list before I got this book, but now are. They are good in chicken dishes, too. Or you can substitute white or green onions and come out with a tasty product, if a different one. With a few exceptions, it is a Mediterranean peasant cookbook, and that means wonderful food out of simple, inexpensive, readily available ingredients. If I want to impress my friends with my cooking skill, I pull out this book, and start dinner with soup (The recipes in this book range from very easy to "must have some cooking experience". Some soups are thickened with eggs- for a beginning cook here's a tip: put the eggs in a bowl, add a ladle or two of your hot soup, stirring briskly with a whisk, and then stir back into the pot. You don't want the eggs to cook into lumps, and doing it this way makes it thicken the soup smoothly. I haven't yet found a recipe that the whole family didn't love. And I said love, not like - and we had a picky eater. Some of the recipes that seem to have the strangest ingredient lists are the tastiest, so don't be shy about trying Bread Soup. It is mostly a vegetarian cookbook, but don't think of it that way. You'll be well nourished by it if that's your main meal, or if its a first course, you'll get to the meat soon enough. There is a wonderful soup recipe that is full of sausages, so it isn't entirely vegetarian. So unless you are someone who has to have meat in everything, this book is for you if you like soup.
Anyone who knows how good home made soups can be might enjoy this collections of recipes. I like the variety and novelty of the combinations of ingredients.