This vegetable-packed soup from star chef Eric Ripert gets exceptional flavor from pistou, the pesto-style basil puree that’s served with it. To make a vegetarian version, omit the ham and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
Slideshow: More Vegetable Soup Recipes
1/2 cup dried navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
One 2-inch square of ham rind or meat
2 thyme sprigs, 4 parsley sprigs and 1 bay leaf, tied together with kitchen twine
1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 medium tomato, cored
3 cups lightly packed basil leaves
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 medium fennel bulb—halved lengthwise, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
6 ounces haricots verts, cut into 1-inch lengths
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, cover the navy beans, ham rind and herb bundle with the chicken stock and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to a simmer. Using a sharp paring knife, score an X on the bottom of the tomato. Add to the saucepan and blanch just until the skin starts to peel, about 30 seconds. Transfer the tomato to an ice water bath to cool. Peel and seed the tomato, then cut it into 1/4-inch dice.
In a blender or food processor, pulse the basil with the garlic until finely chopped. With the machine on, gradually add the olive oil until incorporated. Season the pistou with salt and pepper.
Remove the ham and herb bundle from the beans. Add the tomato, carrot, fennel, zucchini, onion and haricots verts and season with a generous pinch of salt. Simmer over moderately low heat until the vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper and ladle into bowls. Serve with the pistou, stirring it into the soup at the table.
The soup and pistou can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat the soup; serve the pistou at room temperature.
Minerally Provençal white.
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