I was going to make potage cultivateur, a rustic French cut vegetable soup but I couldn’t find the correct bacon or salted pork at Whole Foods Market so I thought, screw it. I’ll make it vegan instead; no bacon, no butter.
Two adjustments to make the soup a little Asian: I don’t like turnips so I substituted that for daikon radish and I don’t like savoy cabbage so I put in napa cabbage. I didn’t add haricot verts because it’s such a hassle. Also, the cut for the soup is supposed to be in paysanne (thin little tiles) but does it look like I’m made out of money? I don’t have the luxury to block everything and then throw the scraps to the “compost” bin or the trash. I have to utilize all the trimmings – some of the trimmings went to make the vegetable stock. You could always use water but using vegetable stock gives the soup double the concentration of flavor!
- 2 leeks, washed thoroughly, white + pale green (thinly sliced) separated from dark green parts (roughly chopped)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced and separated into two equal parts
- 8 celery stalks, peeled, thinly sliced
- 5 carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 large daikon radish, thinly sliced
- 2 Idaho potatoes, thinly sliced in cold stock
- Half napa cabbage, chiffonade
- ½ cup peas
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 8½ cups (2 liters) vegetable stock
- Salt & pepper
Start by making a vegetable stock. Sweat the leek greens, onions, and other vegetable trimmings (optional: include a few cloves of garlic, thyme and parsley sprigs) in a little EVOO and add more water than the 8½ cups due to water evaporation. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the stock and reserve a separate bowl of stock over ice for the sliced potatoes.
In a small pot, boil water and heat frozen peas until cooked through. Shock in ice water and drain, set aside.
Sweat white and pale green leeks, carrots, celery, and daikon in a little olive oil for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and bring the simmer to a gentle boil for another 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. At the very end, add in the peas.
Serve with toasted baguette slices (optional: topped with melted Gruyère cheese).
*Adapted from the French Culinary Institute.