A few months back we had lunch at the Golden Fleece Restaurant in Asheville (click here for the restaurant site) and were surprised by the soup-of-the-day. It was Green Beans and Parsley. I LOVE soup for lunch and jumped at the chance of trying it. Frankly, it would have never occurred to me to make green bean soup.
The soup was good, satisfying, and I filed that away with my some-day-I-might-try-that file. In the meantime I had fallen in love with velouté soups, omitting the roux. Although in a velouté sauce one does start with a roux, it really is not necessary in soups. I have found that to thicken vegetable veloutés I would rather add a 1/2 cup of chopped potatoes or a 1/4 cup of grains. The blended soup becomes creamy and one avoids processed wheat grain as well as the sometimes pasty taste of velouté. My favorite grain is farro, but I sometimes use rice.
Recently I noticed that several grocery stores I frequent carry two pound packages of haricots verts. PERFECT! I decided that I would make the soup that had been on my mind since my Golden Fleece lunch, and searched the internet for Italian and French blogs featuringn green beans velouté. Italians LOVE their passatas and the French their vegetable veloutés and I was not disappointed. An Italian site had a good recipe with the addition of a very soft Italian cheese nearly impossible to find in the U.S. as well as pistachios. Rather than cheese, I use Greek Yogurt which I have found works really well as additions to vegetable veloutés. I liked the crunchiness of the pistachios against the creaminess of the soup as well as the amount of green beans in the Italian soup, and leaned toward making my soup similar to the Vellutata di fagiolini, pistacchio e stracchino knowing, of course, that I would not include the stracchino cheese.
Perhaps I should call my version Very Green Velouté as to give it a bit of punch I added a jalapeño pepper and for the acidity which always brightens up soup, the juice of a lime.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 pounds of green beans
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups of water
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- juice of a lime
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Rinse the green beans, parsley, and jalapeño pepper, the chop them.
Heat the olive oil in a stock pot and, over medium heat, sweat the chopped shallots and celery with a bit of salt for about 4 minutes.
Add the chopped green beans, the parsley and the jalapeño pepper.
Stir to coat the ingredients with olive oil
Add the stock and the water and raise the heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes.
In the meantime, shell the pistachios and toast then lightly.
Add the pistachios to the soup.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to a creamy consistency.
Adjust the salt and pepper, and add the juice of a lime. Lemon juice or even white wine vinegar could be substituted. But, it is always a good idea to end the soup with a bit of acid content.
Serve into bowls. Add 2 tablespoons of Greek Yogurt to each bowl and swirl.