Pistou comes from Southern France and is very like Italian pesto. It is usually served over soup made from spring vegetables.


250 g dried haricot beans
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 carrots, diced
bouquet garni
4 pmames, diced
150 g small green beans, chopped
500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
3 tomatoes
4 zucchini, diced
150 g vermicelli, broken
into pieces
150 g peas, fresh or frozen

6 garlic cloves
85 g basil leaves
100 g grated Parmesan cheese
185 ml olive oil


Soak the haricot beans in cold water overnight then drain, put in a saucepan and cover with cold
water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat. Simmer for 1 hour, or until the beans are tender. Drain well.

Next make the the pistou, put the garlic, basil and Parmesan in a food processor or a mortar and pestle and process or pound until finely chopped. Slowly add the olive oil, with the motor running if you are using the food processor, or pound constantly with the mortar and pestle, and mix thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook over low heat for 5 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the celery, carrot and bouquet garni and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potato, green beans, chicken stock and 1.75 litres water and simmer for 10 minutes.

Score a cross in the top of each tomato. Plunge into boiling water for 20 seconds, then drain and peel the skin away from the cross. Chop the tomatoes finely, discarding the cores. Add to the soup with the zucchini, haricot beans, vermicelli and peas and cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Season and serve with pistou on top.

Categories: FrenchSoup