Rustic vegetable soup with rye croutons and parsley-savory 'pistou'

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 4 to 6
Rustic vegetable soup with rye croutons and parsley-savory ‘pistou’
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, then the onions and saute until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the fennel and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the 5 cloves of garlic and continue to cook just until the garlic is aromatic, about 1 minute. Season with one-half teaspoon salt and one-half teaspoon of pepper.


Stir in the potatoes and carrots. Add 2 sprigs savory and the bay leaf, then pour in the water. Stir in another half-teaspoon salt.


Bring the water to a simmer, then reduce the heat so the water just “shivers”; it will steam with maybe one or two bubbles every once in a while. Add the rutabaga and cook, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender.


Meanwhile, make the pistou. Place the parsley (reserving several leaves for garnish), the leaves of 3 sprigs of savory (reserving several leaves for garnish), 1 clove of garlic, the lemon zest, mustard and one-fourth teaspoon salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the food processor on, pour in one-half cup olive oil. Set aside.


Make the croutons. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil with 1 clove garlic in a pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and 1 sprig savory. Saute, tossing frequently, until the bread is well-browned on the edges, about 3 minutes. Place the bread on a baking sheet and toast until the bread is dried through, about 5 minutes.


When the soup is ready, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. This makes about 2 quarts soup. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top each with a few croutons and a dollop of pistou. Garnish with parsley and savory and a grind of pepper. Serve immediately.

This makes more “pistou” than you will need for the soup. You can use the extra to top grilled chicken or mix it into salads or steamed vegetables.

Betty Hallock was the deputy Food editor, covering all things food and drink for the Saturday section and Daily Dish blog. She started at The Times in 2001 in the Business section and previously worked on the National desk at the Wall Street Journal in New York. She’s a graduate of UCLA and New York University.
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