Soup is a unique dish that can be classified into several categories, depending on its base and ingredients: it can be an appetizer, a main course, or even a dessert. Soups are common in many countries and curiously reflect the culture of a particular region. They differ in serving temperature, in the main component and in the liquid on the basis of which the dish is prepared. The very same word "soup" comes from the Latin supp - "bread soaked in broth."
As for me, I grew up in the South of France in an Italian family - the perfect combination for a career as a chef, which certainly influenced my taste. The origins of the dishes in this region go back to Ancient Rome. The recipe, of course, underwent transformation, but only until the 18th century - it is curious that since then practically nothing has changed. The so-called traditional dishes that we know now date from this time.
Despite the fact that both France and Italy belong to the same Romanesque culture, the gastronomic component of these countries varies greatly depending on the region. However, in both countries, soups are traditionally served for dinner: they are light, good for digestion and give a feeling of fullness.
I would like to share with you the unchanging classics - recipes for onion soup (soupe al'oignon) and minestrone (minestrone).
French onion soup
I don't think anyone would argue that onion soup is traditionally a French culinary tradition. There are many legends about the origin of this dish, but we can only say for certain that it was first cooked in Lyon, the Rhône-Alpes region, where since ancient times dishes were prepared exclusively with onions, which were most cultivated there.
This is a beef broth soup with caramelized onions, cheese and croutons. Serve it hot. A very simple dish to prepare, at the same time filling and tasty. What's more, it is quite unusual due to the fact that it is a soup based on one product - onions - which is traditionally considered a complementary ingredient.
- 1.5 l homemade beef broth
- 1 kg of onions
- 250 ml dry white wine
- 140g Gruyère cheese (or any other hard cheese)
- 50 gr butter
- 15 ml olive oil
- 40 g flour
- 4-8 slices of white bread
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 5 grams of sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Add thinly sliced onion and sauté with the lid closed for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and continue cooking for another 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are completely soft and caramelized. It should take on a rich brown color, but be careful not to let it burn.
Chop the garlic thinly and add to the onion. Then sprinkle with flour and mix well.
Increase the heat and gradually pour in the wine, stirring constantly, and then the broth. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Toast the bread before serving. Divide the soup into fireproof bowls or pots. Place the bread on top of the soup, sprinkle with grated cheese and grill in the oven until the cheese is melted.
The dish is ready!
Thanks to unbreakable Italian traditions, minestrone, unlike onion soup, has changed little since the days of the ancient Romans. The use of exclusively local products was especially important in the south of the country, where the poorest people lived. Now this is no longer the case, but, in my opinion, the best minestrone is still being prepared in this region. An abundance of vegetables, pasta or rice is a real complete meal. Ingredients can vary, but usually this soup is made with beans, carrots, celery, tomatoes, onions and, of course, broth. It is also served hot.
I must say, in France, in Provence, there is a similar soup - pisto, but minestrone is definitely an Italian dish.
- 2 L vegetable stock or homemade chicken stock
- 400 gr beans (canned can be used)
- 400 gr tomatoes (canned can be used)
- ½ savoy cabbage or white cabbage
- 140 gr spaghetti
- 2 large potatoes
- 80 gr fresh basil
- 80 gr tomato paste
- 3 large carrots
- 1 pc red onion
- 4 stalks of celery
- 50 ml olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan (optional)
Chop all vegetables finely.
Heat oil in a deep skillet or in a saucepan and add prepared vegetables, except for tomatoes and cabbage. Cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, broth and tomatoes - mix everything. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and continue cooking, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
Break the spaghetti to make a short pasta. Add to vegetables with beans and cook for another 10 minutes. Add cabbage in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Then basil, salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan before serving.
Enjoy your meal!
Photo: Getty Images
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