15 February 2013

Beef vegetable soup

It rained all day yesterday, and it rained really hard in the afternoon. We have started having what they call giboulées — sudden downpours of cold rain, with gusts of wind and sometimes sleet or ice pellets mixed in. Usually giboulées are associated with the month of March, and March isn't far off now. That will be the beginning of spring. Or at least the end of winter.

So what do you do when the weather outside turns (or stays) "soupy" for days on end? Well, you make soup in the kitchen. That's what I did yesterday morning. We had two big sweet potatoes in the cellar. Walt said "Why not put sweet potato in soup?" I was skeptical, but I searched around on the web and found some recipes for vegetable soups containing diced sweet potato. Here, for example.

Vegetable soup with diced sweet potato

We had beef broth left from the boiled beef dinner, the pot-au-feu, that we made earlier in the week. I started by cooking some dried red kidney beans. I found a bag of last summer's green beans in the freezer. I had a stray boiled potato, some frozen tomato trimmings and disks of yellow summer squash, and a cooked carrot, along with other odds and ends. I sauteed a chopped onion to start with. All the chopped or diced vegetables in broth made a rich soup. It wasn't hard to dice up some peeled sweet potato and a little of the boiled beef left over from the pot-au-feu. The sweet potato cooked quickly.

Terrine de lapin from the drive-up butcher truck

We're still enjoying the things we buy from the drive-up butcher. On Tuesday, a nice rabbit terrine caught my eye. I bought a slice. It's beautiful and delicious. It made a good first course, with some cornichons, to go with the main course of beef-vegetable soup.

Now we are supposed to have a dry weekend, with some sun. Maybe we'll start to dry out. Maybe we'll be able to get started in the garden. Maybe, maybe, maybe... Walt just yelled out from his office: "Wow, there's no rain in the forecast for a whole week!"


  1. The terrine de lapin looks really appetizing! I made soup the other day and put a laurel leaf in it thinking of you.

  2. My mother calls your soup Must Go Soup. She looks in the fridge and says, 'This must go.', 'This must go.' Puts it all in a pot and calls it soup.

    I'm wishing you a rain free week!

  3. We call it fridge bottom soup - made from whatever is left in the drawers in the bottom of the fridge (within reason).
    Yours looks delicious.
    I would be happy if we stayed free of snow for a whole week.....maybe...

  4. Well, I call it garbage soup, but that doesn't sound very appetizing. None of the ingredients are past their use-by date, of course. I guess my main point in posting this was the inclusion of diced sweet potato in a soup. It's good and takes just a few minutes to cook.

  5. Whatever the name of everyone's leftover-vegie soup - is what impressed me was that you were having a delicacy - the lapin terrine as well! I can't say I've been able to have something like that on stay-at-home days when the weather outside isn't 'thrillin' (sounds a little like a song, doesn't it?) Having a butcher make housecalls even if only once a week makes me quite envious of your life in France!

  6. It's a fitting post for our weather today. Some veggie soup would be really good.

  7. Friday was always Fridge Soup Day as I was growing up...
    Mum clearing out the fridge... including apple pie on more than one occasion!! Ca marche!!
    Magic ingredients were always....
    a tin of diced tomatoes and...
    some Worcestershire Sauce.

  8. All these soups and their names are examples of the French art d'accommoder les restes -- the art of cooking with leftovers.


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