Potage d’Hiver

A classic soup, Potage d’Hiver (poh-tahj d’ee-vair) is made with dried beans and split peas which are pureed with fresh vegetables. The necessity of using dried vegetables in the winter is thought to have given this soup its name.

2 pints water

6 oz. dried kidney beans, soaked overnight in cold water and drained

8 oz. dried yellow split peas, soaked overnight in cold water and drained

6 oz. dried butter beans butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 medium-sized leeks, white parts only, trimmed and thinly sliced

6 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper dried lima beans soaked overnight in cold water and drained

2 oz. butter

3 onions, finely chopped

3 carrots, scraped, parboiled, drained and finely chopped

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1| pints chicken stock bouquet garni, consisting of

4 parsley sprigs, 1 thyme spray and

1 bay leaf tied together

8 oz. spinach, cooked, drained and pureed

In a large saucepan, bring the water to the boil over high heat. Add the kidney beans, split peas and butter beans to the water, a few at a time, so that the boiling does not stop. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer the beans and peas for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until they are tender. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a large frying-pan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onions to the pan and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until they are soft and translucent but not brown. Add the carrots to the pan and fry, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until they are tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Puree the onions, carrots, beans and peas, in food mill.

Alternatively, blend the vegetables in 1 pint chicken stock 10 fl. oz. milk

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter with the oil over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the leeks and potatoes and cook, stirring and turning occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly and evenly browned. Season with the salt and pepper and pour over the chicken stock and milk. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the soup through a fine wire strainer held over a large mixing bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, rub the vegetables through the strainer. Discard the pulp left in the strainer.

Alternatively, blend the soup in an electric blender until the vegetables form a fine puree.

Return the soup to the saucepan and place the pan over low heat. Cook the soup, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until it is hot.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the soup into a warmed soup tureen or individual soup bowls and serve.

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