La Potee Auvergnate is a rustic and hearty traditional French soup. Mostly cooked with ham hock, sausages and vegetables, it seems more like a stew than a soup really. When it’s cold and blue outdoors, it’s great to be warming up with a bowl of this stuff.
This recipe is heavily (really heavily) adapted from Delia Smith’s soup collection. As usual, I do not have the time to be pre-soaking dried haricot beans or making stock from a smoked gammon joint. So in its place, I used canned cannellini beans, chicken stock and smoked pancetta. Works well and it only took me a third of the time.
One’s got to adapt when real life gets in the way of domestic goddessness!
When you feel like having a soup that is filling, full of different textures and comfortingly tasty, this is the one to cook. Chunky bits of sausage, smokey pancetta and the sweetness of the carrots, leeks and savoy cabbages = pot of yum.
This now has a place in my very own soup collection.
(SIMPLIFIED) LA POTEE AUVERGNATE
2 x 400g canned cannellini beans
4 – 6 pork sausages
1 clove garlic
2 medium leeks, sliced into rings
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp dried wild thyme
1 medium head of savoy cabbage, shredded
200g pancetta cubes
1.5 litres chicken stock (more if you prefer soupier soups)
sea salt & fresh ground pepper
chopped fresh parsley
1. Squeeze the sausage meat out of their skins and brown them in a heavy based pot with just a touch of oil, break them up into smaller ‘balls’ while browning. When nicely browned, remove from pot and set aside. Add in pancetta cubes and fry till nicely coloured and fragrant, add in garlic, thyme and prepared vegetables (except savoy cabbage)
2. Cook veggies for about 10 – 15 minutes until tender, then add in chicken stock and beans. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Let the soup come back to a boil, then add cabbage and sausages. Simmer the soup for a few more minutes until the cabbage is wilted.
Serve with sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.
Cooking and eating this popular Moroccan favourite brings back wonderful memories of my trip to Morocco a few years back. I remember rather vividly the bunch of us, despite being well fed by our hosts that evening (we were there for a concert performance) were famished by the time we got back to our hotel in the city of Rabat. The good thing about cities in Morocco, is that at close to midnight, the bustle of life is still going strong. We ventured to a row of shops nearby and found this little stall selling harira, and if I remembered correctly – for only five dirhams a bowl. (That’s 40p!!) The fragrant little bowl of spiced soup was just what we needed as a late night supper.
Harira is Morocco’s famous lentil and tomato soup. It’s fragrantly spiced with ginger, pepper, cinnamon and turmeric, cooked with copious amounts of parsley and coriander. The traditional Moroccan Harira plays a very important role as the soup used for breaking fast during the Ramadan period, however it is eaten all year round as well and enjoyed by many.
There are both vegetarian and meat versions of the soup, both equally hearty as there are many ingredients including lentils, chick peas, rice noodles, tomatoes, celery, onions and eggs.
I made a meat version of the harira (no surprise there!) using beef instead of lamb. Although there are many ingredients to the soup, preparation is really simple. I followed this particular recipe which I found online and the soup was a delicious success. Aromatic spices and herbs, bits of tender beef, wonderful flavours and textures of the lentils, chick peas and noodles, slight tanginess from the lemony egg mix. There are many recipes for Harira available, all claiming to be authentic, and I have a sneaky suspicion that they will all end up tasting similar – give or take a few differences in ingredients. No matter, this is one good soup and though I will not get it for 40p a bowl anymore, I’ll gladly cook it again…and again…and again. To more slurpy goodness.