I received this book from my children for Christmas. It fits my plan to focus on simple, healthy, and frugal cooking for my crowd. If there is one thing Br. d’Avila-Laourrette knows about it’s frugal, healthy, crowd pleasing cooking. He is the resident cook and gardener at Our Lady of the Resurrection Monastery in Millbook New York. There he grows most of the vegetables used in the soups he makes. Most of the soups are meatless and work perfect for Friday suppers of soup and bread and simple Lenten meals. The recipes are organized by months of the year, focusing on foods that are in season each month. I have jumped around quite a bit of course. Most of the ingredients I have found easily at our local market, and I look forward to spring when I can shop at our city Farmers Market and whip up these delicious soups with a local flare! He does call for alot of white wine in many of the recipes, (which is certainly not a problem for me! ) I suppose if you were to cut down on the wine you would also cut down on the cost. This lovely little book is also peppered with quotes and proverbs pertaining to soup, simplicity, and hospitality. We really enjoyed the Minestrone Monastico last week, (just one of the many variations of Minestrone in this book.), and tonight we will be having a pot of Traditional Austrian Cheese Soup. YUM!
3 quarts water
1 cup green beans
2 celery stalks
1 cup dry white beans
1 cup olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup macaroni
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese
1. Wash and peel the vegetables and cut them into small pieces (except the dry beans). pour the water into a large soup pot and add all the vegetables (including beans) except the onions. Cook slowly over medium heat for 1 hour.
2. Saute the onions in a bit of the olive oil in a large frying pan. when the onions begin to become golden, turn off the heat.
3. To the soup, add the onions, wine, rest of the olive oil, macaroni, tarragon, salt, and pepper and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Cover the pot and allow the soup to simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot, with a side dish of grated Parmesan cheese.
*Br. Victor notes that while a single cup of wine is listed, one could easily add a cup or two more. “The wine is the secret ingredient of this recipe – it makes all the difference in the world.”
Traditional Austrian Cheese Soup
*this one is simmering on my stovetop as I type.
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 finely sliced celery stalks
2 leeks sliced
2 large potatoes cubed
6 cups water
1 8-ounce package cream cheese cut into cubes
1 8-ounce container plain yogurt (*I am using Kefir instead)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Pour the oil into a soup pot, add the celery, leeks, and potatoes, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook the soup slowly for 35 to 40 minutes.
2. When the soup is done, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the cream cheese, yogurt (kefir), salt, and pepper. Stir continuously until these latter ingredients melt and blend thoroughly with the rest of the soup. Serve hot.