Here is a simple and satisfying stay-at-home meal that can be a thick stew served as a side dish or as a soup all on its own, depending on the amount of liquid you add. Roasting the vegetables and adding them at the end keep them from over cooking. Even better, you can substitute with things you have on hand - just look at my suggestions.
This hearty bean soup/stew calls for large white beans. You can use gigante, cannellini or large limas although the flavor will be different for each. Remember to soak them. See my notes below. I make this soup with or without meat, depending on my mood and what I might have leftover from grilling or braising.
New Orleans is a long way from the Rhône, but the Creole cooking there has its
roots in France. There is nothing more satisfying on a cool fall day than a steaming bowl of gumbo. During harvest winery crews work long, back-breaking days. I like to keep a big pot of this on hand to keep them going.
The Hutterite bean is one of the best soup beans I have ever cooked with. It is golden in color with a dark eye and cooks in very little time. When the bean breaks down, it creates a creamy soup unlike any other bean.
Soupe au Pistou is a classic southern French white bean and vegetable soup. A big spoonful of basil pistou is added to the bowl at the time of serving, giving the soup a bright green hue and a pungent fragrance that wakes up the senses. I call this my "Recovery Soup" when I serve it at the Tasting Room on the day after Thanksgiving.
The Summer to Fall transition is all about using what is in your garden or farmer’s market
bounty. This chilled soup is great served in small cups and goes easily in a thermos for picnics. This is my version of gazpacho with smoked paprika. This soup can also be made as a thick sauce for grilled meats by reducing the amount of tomato and V-8 juices.
Many grocery stores now carry a wide variety of dried wild mushrooms, a wonderful staple for your kitchen to cook with any time of year. Using dried mushrooms gives you the added bonus of the soaking liquid as the base for the stock. You can make this with just one type like morels, porcini or chanterelles or a mix of wild varieties.