Two Facebook friends wrote me this past week to say they were making soups from my cookbooks. Each lives in New England, where temperatures plummeted and blizzard conditions were in effect for several days. Suzanne told me “It was a ribolitta day” for her, referencing a recipe for the well-known Italian vegetable soup that appears in Sunday Soup. Heidi, from Massachusetts, let me know that she was doing a little French country cooking, preparing Onion Soup Gratiné from Soup Nights.
They reminded me that it is indeed soup weather! Even here in Paris where temperatures have reached the 40s and 50s, it’s been rainy, windy, and damp so I’ve reached for the soup pot often.
A favorite potage of mine is Winter Soup from the Chalet, prepared with a mélange of cold weather vegetables that are paired with cannellini beans and bits of smoked sausage. It seemed appropriate to make this particular recipe while in France since I discovered “soupe du chalet” several years ago in a French cookbook. Although I am not a skier and have never spent a night in a chalet, I knew that this soup would be a winner, and it is.
This all-in-one dish improves in flavor when made a day ahead. Depending of the size of the pot you use (wider ones tend to cause the broth to cook down more), you might need to add extra broth listed in the ingredients. For a recent supper I served “la soupe” along with a salad of mache, Belgian endive, and radishes tossed in a vinaigrette, and set out a loaf of warm, crusty bread. My husband and I both had seconds of the soup to stave off the damp chill in the city!
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Winter Soup from the Chalet
2 tbsp olive oil
8 oz smoked kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch dice (see market note)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups (1 - 2 medium) chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
1/2 lb (about 1 medium) white, purple-tinged turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-in dice
5 cups chicken broth or stock, plus 1 to 2 cups more if needed
3/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
One 15- to 16-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1. To a heavy, medium pot (with a lid) over medium heat, add the olive oil. When hot, add the diced sausage and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels.
2. Leave 2 tablespoons of the drippings in the pan and discard the rest. Add the onion and leeks, stirring often for 2 minutes. Add the turnips and carrots; stir and cook until just slightly tender, 4 minutes or more. Add broth and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, at a simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add potatoes and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 8 minutes or more.
3. Stir in the sausage and beans. Season with salt and cayenne. If soup is too thick, add up to 1 cup more broth. (Soup can be prepared one day ahead; cook to this stage, then cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Thin with additional broth if soup has thickened too much.)
4. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of Gruyère and parsley.
Market note: Wellshire Farms smoked kielbasa (available at Whole Foods) works well in this recipe. Be certain you use a good quality smoked cooked sausage. In the original recipe, a French pork sausage called Morteau was suggested.
Recipe adapted from Soup Nights (Rizzoli 2016) by Betty Rosbottom