FFWD – Côte d’Azur Cure-All Soup

  My mother’s homemade soup could cure anything but the schism between my sister and me when it came to what starch she should put in it. I loved rice in my soup and my sister preferred noodles. So, often the soup would have both. It would also have whatever needed using up in the refrigerator, along with stewed tomatoes to bring everything together. I loved to make it spicy with black pepper, a trick I learned from my grandfather. My mother couldn’t stand this habit, because she’d spent so much time balancing the flavours.

While her soup was simple in the sense that it was made with whatever was on hand, it was also complex. It developed slowly, simmering on the back of the stove, with many small additions being made along the way.

My adult life doesn’t include a chest freezer full of containers of soup ready to soothe me when I’m sick. Freezer space in my refrigerator is at a premium (I mean, who doesn’t need to keep the bowl of the ice cream maker ready at all times, just in case?), so a quick cure is a blessing.

A garlicky soup that’s ready in a little over thirty minutes seems like a promising alternative. So what if it’s also full of cheese and egg yolks, they’re there to fortify you. And you can add chicken stock if you like, which has proven curative clout. Anyway, I think food is best for existential ills and cheesy, eggy, garlicky goodness could jolt me out of even my most pessimistic mood.

I didn’t bother to purée my soup – I thought the thin slices of garlic looked quite pretty and they gave the soup an interesting texture. If I were serving it for company, I probably would purée it for presentation’s sake.

This soup took a long time to make it onto the French Fridays schedule, but I don’t think it will be long before I make it again. It’s simple, but it’s also rich and delicious – well worth using your best ingredients to make it shine. And the half recipe I made left me with three egg whites, so I made a Visitandine. Whatever the soup doesn’t cure, the cake surely will.

Try it for yourself – you can find Dorie’s recipe here.

And you can find links to the rest of the French Fridays crew’s posts on this week’s recipe here: Côte d’Azur Cure-All Soup.


13 thoughts on “FFWD – Côte d’Azur Cure-All Soup

  1. The benefit of having siblings 14 years older? We never had to agree 🙂 (although, my older sister did and still thinks she’s my mother…)
    This soup is worth a repeat; the cake is a bonus! Good thinking.

  2. I’ve been trying to figure out what to make with all of my leftover egg whites. A vistadine sounds delicious. Thanks for the tip!

  3. My mother-in-law is perpetually perplexed by the fact that we don’t have a freezer chest. Whenever we visit she loads us up with food to bring home for our freezer and every time we have to remind her that we can only take about a quarter of what she wants to give us because of limited freezer space. Partly the culprit is our city life, there is simply no way a chest freezer would fit into our little apartment. But partly the culprit is also the bowl for the ice cream maker:-)

  4. Teresa, wonderful, rich and creamy looking Cure-All-Soup – loved reading your post and learn about your mother´s soup…my grandmother used to have a huge chest freezer and she always had it stocked to the rim with all kinds of delicious fare.
    Have a great weekend,

  5. While sipping this soup I too had thought about how it would present for company? Pureed? As is? In the end I decided that this soup would never see company. It is too deeply a personal soup. Meant to be shared only with myself or a loved one in need of a cure all whipped up on the stove in a manner of minutes. I’m also chuckling bit at your mother’s frustration with the pepper. I have an in-law who visits and dumps pepper onto everything I cook no matter what it is. My theory is that pepper is really the only flavor he can taste after decades of smoking. So instead of frustration I now just feel pity. Works better for me!

  6. I love that your mother would add both rice and noodles to her soup, to satisfy both of her daughters! Very diplomatic! We loved the way this soup tasted, and I loved the ease of preparation! A good soup that I will make again!

  7. I agree with your sentiments on the ice cream base:) Good choice for use of your egg whites. Reminds me to make another one this summer. Glad the soup was a hit and I am going to try and get to it.

  8. I didn’t bother pureeing the garlic either and loved it. My freezer is always groaning – to fit in the icecream maker bowl, I’d have to take things out!

  9. Oh, Teresa, what a wonderful post, filled with nostalgia, cleverly written and talking about good food. I have a small freezer also and I keep my ice cream bowl at the ready just in case. The soup (which I haven’t made yet – 80 degree temperatures in California) appeals to me even more now that you have given me the Vistandine idea. I loved that cake and now my ingredients will be a two-fer. I return to Colorado next week and two more months of winter (or slush and dirty snow melt) so I will definitely make this one.

  10. The description of your mother’s soup has me craving soup! Actually, I do have random bits of veggies that need to get used. Perhaps I need soup?

  11. I vote with you for the rice. In fact, now that I finished my pot of cure-all soup, I have a nasty cold. I’ll be honest that slicing a head of garlic is more effort than I can manager, but a bowl of chicken broth and rice makes a good substitute. I think this is more of a cure-all soup if someone else is cooking for the sick one…

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