Provencale soup refers to the soups that are prepared in the Provencale region of France.
History of Provencale Soups
Provencale enjoyed a wonderful Mediterranean climate all through the year. As a result, food and grain was plentiful and this resulted in regular invasions by the Greeks, Romans, Germans, as well as, by the French. Over time, each invading culture left their influences on the food and the cuisine resulting in a variety of Provencale soups that are still cooked today.
Provencale Soup Recipes: Ingredients Used and Preparation Overview
Regional produce in the form of locally cultivated vegetables like eggplant, bell peppers, garlic, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, fennel, zucchini and asparagus are preferred for the cooking process. The warm Mediterranean climate of Provence resulted in a large internal production of olives and wheat, and fruits like peaches, apricots, strawberries, and cherries. The region is also well known for its wine production and several world-famous wines are produced in the region. Different combinations of vegetables, meats, and fish are combined with local herbs like rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil and local berries to form thick stew-like soups or their thinner versions. A few recipes also use wine as the flavoring ingredient of their soups.
Provencale Soup: Serving and Eating
Most of the soups are served with crusty local breads like baguettes, whole grain loaves, and the traditional French long bread. Light summer soups are served as appetizers, while heavier versions which have meat and vegetables in them, are served as one-pot meals.
Variations in Provencale Soup Recipes
- Provencale Vegetable soup is prepared by stewing chopped onions, leeks, potatoes, carrots and peas in chicken stock, pepper, thyme and saffron.
- Provencale greens soup is made by using Provencale local wild greens like wild onions, chard, beet greens, dandelion greens, nettles and watercress. These are then mixed and cooked with leeks, salt, pepper, and olive oil to form a delicious salad. Eggs may be added to the soup along with croutons to form the soup.
- Beans are very popular in Provence and there are many soups that are prepared from them. For example, cannellini beans are cooked in a tomato broth to form the thick stew or soup. Soupe au pistou is another variety that is also made from beans and vegetables.
- Provencale beef shank stew is a soup prepared by simmering olive oil, beef shanks, red onions, tomatoes, carrots, and whole mushrooms in a thick delicious soup. This is usually served with mashed potatoes and noodles.
- Bouillabaisse is a tomato-based fish stew prepared by stewing Provencale herbs with cuttlefish, monkfish, and any local cheap fish.
Bouillabaisse was traditionally considered a poor man's Provencale soup which was cooked by the local fishermen. The leftover fish, rejected by housewives and restaurants, was used to make this soup.