christine’s simple party soups {ffwd}


Of course, there have been specific recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table that have become favorites. Lazy People’s Chicken is at the top of that list. However, more than the recipes, it’s the techniques and “formulas” that I’ve learned and added to my repertoire that make this book such a treasure.

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was one of these non-recipe formulas. Christine’s Simple Party Soups was this week’s challenge. Dorie offers a trio of soups: red pepper, asparagus, and broccoli. The recipes were as simple as you can imagine. Basically, the ingredient list includes just two things: the featured vegetable and some stock. Hmmpf! How could that be tasty?

Most soups I make, and I make a lot of soups, start with sautéed onions in butter and oil and maybe some carrots, celery, and garlic before adding the main vegetable. For this soup, there’s none of that. You add chopped vegetables to boiling stock and simmer until the vegetables are cooked, then puree in the blender. That’s it. That’s all.

Vegetables Simmering in Stock

Vegetables Simmering in Stock

The end result should be called Essence of Vegetable Soup. The flavor of the featured vegetable comes through loud and clear. And, it’s January, so vegetables aren’t even at their peak. (I used frozen asparagus, fresh red peppers and broccoli).

Pureeing Soup in the Blender

Pureeing Soup in the Blender

To top the soups, Dorie offers instructions for spiced whipped cream. I’m not a huge fan of whipped cream, so, instead, I used dollops of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of the recommended spice, a different one for each soup. That would be red pepper flakes (I used Aleppo) for the red pepper soup, cardamom for the asparagus, and curry powder for the curry. I loved the light touch of spice with each soup. I’m wondering how it would be to add the spice to the soup as it simmers, but I’m worried that the pure vegetable essence that I also loved would be lost.

Each soup was distinct and delicious. Though I reduced the liquid by two-thirds because I like my soup thicker than Dorie does, the red pepper was still very thin compared with the others. My favorite is either the asparagus or the broccoli. It’s hard to choose. Howard was away most of the week, but liked the red pepper soup as a starter for last night’s dinner. He brought asparagus soup for lunch today, but I haven’t gotten a report yet.

My mind is running through the roster of other vegetables that could be used. I’m hoping this will be equally successful with winter’s root vegetables, like carrots, squash, or rutabaga. I’ll be giving it a try.

The recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To see how my French Friday friends made out with their simple soups, follow their links here.

Red Pepper, Asparagus, Broccoli (L to R)

Red Pepper, Asparagus, Broccoli (L to R)


Posted on 17 January 2014, in French Fridays with Dorie, Soup and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Wasn’t this a revelation? I LOVED the concept behind these!

  2. You could have written my post. I make a lot of soups too and I always start with onions etc.. and I paired the spices exactly the same way. I was surprised too at how much flavor they had… though many found them bland.

  3. LOvely job on the soups. I only made one – the broccoli and it was delicious. It is amazing how tasty something so simple can be. Hope you have a great weekend.

  4. I”ve made tons of squash soup using boxed frozen butternut. It’s one of my favorite too busy/tired to cook meals. I wasn’t blown away by the warm red pepper soup, but really enjoyed it chilled.

  5. For me the revelation was just how much I now value the onion in those soups. :)

  6. Great point. I have learned so much from Dorie and some of the most important lessons have been the techniques. Lazy chicken was also a revelation for me and ranks among my most repeated recipes. This one reminded me that I don’t really need a recipe for soup.

  7. We weren’t crazy about any of these, but they sure were pretty! Have a lovely weekend, Betsy!

  8. We talked about what other veggies could be used with this technique – it really could be a nice way to use up an excess of vegetables. I may try the asparagus version this spring – I can’t bear to cook with it out of season!

  9. Don’t you just love no recipe recipes! I was doing the same mind games of what else could I do with or what combos would be good together. Love the glasses too -so pretty!

  10. Yes, I agree that this was very good for such a simple technique. I just made the asparagus and enjoyed it.

  11. Essence of vegetable soup is a perfect description! Your soups look great!

  12. I like your description, as Renee said – essence of vegetable soup describes these perfectly. I was longing for more seasonings, though.

  13. I love the things that I learned to do throughout this book too – lots of the techniques have carried on to other dishes I make! :)

  14. oh I like the essence of vegetable term but it is true isn’t it? you only have the vegetables and stock but I liked them very much!!!

  15. I agree with you as well about valuing the concept shared. For the amount of time and effort, I was very pleased. And with most of the star ingredients out of season, all the more so. Yes, butternut squash sounds like a winner as that is one of my favorites. As usual, Dorie has inspired me to play around some more in the kitchen ~

  16. Except for the red pepper-raspberry, I just didn’t get much flavor out of the plain red-pepper soup. Although I didn’t make the broccoli or asparagus soups, I think your Post is encouraging me to try. I make my soups exactly as you initially described so I felt these three variations of the red pepper lacked depth. I also used Greek yogurt with different spices. Because I can soon get fresh asparagus and fresh broccoli here at the Farmer’s Market, I might give them a go again. Nice writing.

  17. We too enjoyed these soups very much. the broccoli was my favorite.

  18. Betsy, I’m glad you enjoyed the soups. I used frozen asparagus too. It was plan gross looking in the produce section! ‘Essensce of vegetable’ is a good description but somehow the essence didn’t work for me!

  19. Yes – one of my favorite things about cooking along with everyone (besides the people…) is how many technique/ concepts that I have picked up on the way. It has definitely made me a better cook. i would love to try this with roasted vegetables… MMMMM

  20. I’m glad you enjoyed these! Reading all of these positive posts is almost making me think I should try them again…I agree with you about the lazy chicken. It’s one of my favorites.

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