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French Country Soup

January 16, 2011

My friend told me I am no French cook. But he is coming round to eat tomorrow, so I made this to show him!

I came home from work starving hungry having spent most of the day on campus, and it’s true, I really don’t make French style food ever really, so I decided to change this situation. When I was a lot younger, my sister sent my parents a post card from a holiday in the south of France, it’s front had the image of a very wizened old French man drinking a blood red thin soup in the most rustic kitchen (wobbly wooden table, candles, saucepans on the walls). Not being French, and possessing few Francophile tendencies, I decided to try and recreate how I think his soup would taste, while also playing with the food and not taking any of it too seriously, hence the inclusion of one unusual but more then worthy ingredient…


Feeds – four

Total time – 50 minutes

  • 5 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 / 4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 / 4 cup Balsamic Dressing (Mine is Homemade; Balsamic Vinegar, Honey, Mustard)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Rosemary (leaves only) or 5 tablespoons dried
  • Chicken Stock or Water (to cover)
  • 2 Lemons, juice only
  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped into large chunks
  • 3 cloves Garlic, very finely chopped
  • 3 Tomatoes, chopped to varying consistencies, some very fine, some large chunks
  • 6 Chicken pieces (Thighs, Drumsticks, Wings)
  • 2 handfulls of, you will never guess it… Peanuts! Sounds odd I know, but they add an amazing flavour and bite to the soup
  • (Optional) Giblets, either in a muslin bag, or chopped (chopped if being eaten straight away, muslin bag if some of the soup will be saved to be reheated later). I used the giblets of two Rabbits in this as I am marinating Rabbit to cook tomorrow, Chicken or Turkey will work fine too.
  • 5 Bay Leaves
  • Paprika (Quite a lot, by eye, use to colour the soup)
  1. Put a saucepan on a low heat, add the Olive Oil, then the Onion, Bay and Garlic. Simmer, and stir occasionally.
  2. Get a frying pan very hot, sear the Chicken, turning regularly until it is browned all over.
  3. Add the Rosemary to the saucepan, then half of the Stock / Water, Peanuts, Carrot and Tomatoes.
  4. When it begins to simmer, add the Chicken, Giblets, Wine Vinegar, Balsamic Dressing and Lemon Juice. Fill to just below the top of the meat with Stock / Water.
  5. Add paprika to taste, the aim is to get the liquids, especially the oil, coloured a deep red (see photos).
  6. And then simmer till the Chicken is done, throw away the Giblets if the soup will be reheated.

Eat it with crusty bread, such as Reikäleipä, or Pain de campagne if you are the sort who find the idea of peanuts in French Soup sacrilegious. I made my best batch of Reikäleipä so far (photo) to go with it.

Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts!

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