French Country Soup

7 Apr
In the south of France sleeps a quaint and serene town called Aix-en-Provence. This is the town where Cezanne was inspired by the mountains and light and where Alayna and I were inspired by the soup and bread.

The inspiration of our French Country soup came from a little French restaurant right below the old town on Rue Vanloo with red canopies and outdoor patio tables. It was owned by a sweet Brazilian woman who gave us small shot glasses of carrot ginger soup before our meal. And there was very good bread. AKA soup lover’s heaven.
As promised last week, this soup’s goal was to dispel one reader’s belief, who admitted that although he liked the blog, why would he ever make a soup for forty minutes when he could make a Trader Joe’s Frozen Pizza in fifteen?
At first I wanted to lie and say this soup only took 15 minutes also, but Alayna said that would confuse our soup-making followers when they were making the recipe. I realized my competitive side was getting the best of me. The soup takes thirty minutes, unless you cut stuff super fast.
However, in the ‘ol Great Recession of ’09 making a soup that produces roughly five or so meals for $11 isn’t too bad.
And there is, of course, that overall nutrition factor which I feel like I’ve been intensely harping on recently so I’ll just let you decide what the healthier dinner option for yourself and our planet might be…
Okay, my inner-hippie is going away now.
The Soup!

But first, Alayna’s inner-hippie and her new pottery creation. The soup pot. Brilliant.

Chop between 6 and 8 cloves of garlic
saute in olive oil with a few shakes of red pepper
1/2 a yellow onion
Add in the following:
a handful of baby carrots (chopped),
half a head of broccoli
Either half of a large eggplant or a small one cut in… and I quote “pinkie sized sticks, unless you have small fingers then pointers,”
Cut in the same manner, 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash (regular sized or again, half of those weirdly giant ones),
5 vine ripe tomatoes cut in bite sized pieces.

Keep it on medium/low heat as you add everything.
Wait for the squash and egg plant to get cooked most of the way through (fork test).
Add a big handful of fresh basil (chopped) and a couple sprigs of rosemary and thyme (which you should first de-stem).
(If you want to cut down on the price you can use dried “Herb de Provence” from the jar. Though a small bunch of fresh herbs are a dollar. Your call.)

When the squash and eggplant are cooked through add enough water to cover the veggies
Add 2 packets of chicken cubes.

Presto!

Alayna’s observation: “This soup is essentially ratatouille with broth. Since ratatouille apparently means random assortment of vegetables put together… As far as I can tell.”
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