First of all, I'd like to thank Pebble Soup readers for their patience. I disappeared without a word for a month but I promise if was for a good cause. I came back with loads of material and a few surprises in my bag and I look forward to reading your comments and reactions.
It all started in June when he solemnly declared that we needed a holiday NOW. So we hoped on a plane, direction Vienne. Not the Austrian capital, the Roman town, south of Lyon, on the way to the Riviera.
In spite of its regional importance, being the second largest county (department) town after Grenoble and all that, Vienne is off the tourists' radar. Its roman past left substantial remains still visible in the modern town, every year a jazz festival is held in the roman circus. From its association with the kingdom of Provence, there is a medieval castle but what draws me to the area is food and friends. Today, Vienne specialises in the food industry. Is it cause to effect? I know not, but there are numerous lovely restaurants in the area.
This time round, we were introduced to Le Brocard in Serpaize where Julien Taurant delights his clientele with subtle and tasty dishes. The place looks like a café but don't be fooled, the menu is on a par with the best in Lyon, capital of French gastronomy. All without the price tag nor the pretentiousness attached to "haute cuisine."
When we visited for lunch the menu was already wearing its summer clothes and I started with a cold soup. The dynamic chef would not reveal its secret so back home, I tried my hand at Coco Beans and Chorizo soup, the colour was different, the taste too but this is a keeper for the summer.
Coco Beans and Chorizo -Cold Soup-
- 2 tins of cannellini
- 2 pints of bouillon (I use my trusty marigold powder in hot water)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 large fresh rosemary sprig
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 a chorizo or 150g
- 5tsp thick cream (optional)
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, divided
- Small cubes of white bread (optional)
MethodPlace the drained cans in the broth with salt and pepper and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer.
In the meantime, in a frying pan add 1 tb of olive oil. When the oil is hot add the onion, smashed garlic rosemary and bay leaf. When a lovely smell tickles your nostrils and the garlic has slightly coloured add the chorizo.
Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid. Puree the beans in a blender with some of the liquid, the proportion is entirely up to you and how you like the consistency of your soup.
Sieving gives a smoother finish. Return puree to pot. Stir thyme, chorizo, and cream. Can be made 1 day ahead.
Chill uncovered until cold. Cover and keep chilled.
Before serving fry the croutons if using, salt and pepper.