This recipe is very much inspired by the flavor memories from Provence from when I studied abroad in France in college. The herbs of a standard soupe au pistou evoke Provence anyway, but I always find myself wanting olives in any Provencal dish, hence the addition of good, briny olives to the pistou, which I like to turn into a hot, sizzling sauce to drizzle in. I can't eat beans, so I add sausage to boost the protein - it enhances the flavor too! —fiveandspice
Vegetable Soup with Sausage
mild garlicky sausage (for example, sweet Italian)
leeks, dark green parts removed, light green and white parts washed and sliced
garlic cloves, minced
celery rib, diced
chard, deribbed, washed and chopped
zuchinni, sliced in 1/4" slices
summer squash, in 1/4" slices
medium-large tomatoes, diced
vegetable or chicken broth
orzo or Israeli couscous
salt to taste
pistou aux olives (see below)
fresh parmesan for serving (optional)
Pistou aux Olives
fresh basil, washed
plus 3 Tablespoons olive oil
garlic cloves, peeled
chopped, good quality olives (pits removed)
Squeeze sausage out of casings, and fry over medium in a large soup pot until browned, breaking into chunks as it fries. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage to a bowl, leaving behind the fat.
Add a little extra dash of olive oil, if needed, then add the leeks, garlic, carrot and celery to the pot. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are beginning to caramelize.
Stir in the herbs and cook for a minute. Add the chard, zucchini, summer squash, and tomatoes, and stir to coat the vegetables with the leek and herb mixture. Cook for another couple of minutes, then stir in the broth.
Bring the soup to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are just beginning to soften. Add in the orzo/couscous and add the sausage back in. Cook until the pasta is tender, another 10-15 minutes. Season with salt to taste (remembering that the pistou will also add some salt and flavor).
To serve, ladle into bowls, and swirl a dollop of pistou into each serving. Grate parmesan cheese on top, if desired. Accompany with crusty bread (I like some goat cheese with the bread too, personally).
Pistou aux Olives
In a food processor chop together the basil, ¼ cup olive oil, and garlic cloves to form a chunky paste (this could also be done by hand with a mortar and pestle).
Right before the soup is ready to serve, heat 3 Tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in the basil mixture and chopped olives, and allow to sizzle for a minute.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.