Saint Nicholas Soup

December 7, 2007


From Twelve Months of Monastery Soups, by Br. Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette.

2 oz. butter or margarine
2 leeks or onions
4 medium-sized carrots
3 turnips
4 potatoes
half of a medium-sized head of white cabbage
1 tsp. salt (or more, according to taste)
4 qts. water
1/3 cup minced chervil

Wash and peel the vegetables, then slice into small pieces.

Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add the vegetables and salt, then stir a few times. Turn of the heat, cover the pot and let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Add the water and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and allow to cook slowly for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the soup is done, blend all of it in a blender until it becomes creamy and even. Serve hot with croutons and garnish with chervil. Serves 6-8.

As it happens, a hand-blender works wonderfully for these sorts of things. We had no luck locating chervil at either of the two stores I tried, so we’ll be skipping that part. I may have mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: Brother Victor’s cookbook is one of our all-time favorites. The recipes are listed seasonally, making use of what you’re most likely to find (or want) as the weather is cooling off or heating up. Nearly all of the soups are vegetarian, which is very useful for Lenten or meatless Friday meal planning. Here’s a bit from his introduction:

Many of the recipes have been created and “re-created” in the kitchen of the monastery of Our Lady of the Resurrection in upstate New York. They are inspired by the simplicity, frugality, and family spirit of the monastic tradition, and they should be enjoyed in the intimacy of the family table. These recipes have nourished, comforted and satisfied many throughout the years, and they can appeal to the most simple as well as the most refined of palates.


We’re having this soup for dinner tonight, along with croutons made from the leftover corn bread and a loaf of fresh buttermilk bread that’s in the breadmaker even as I type. There’s cider mulling on the stove for the kids to drink later – our latest Netflix delivery included Ratatouille. The other cider in the fridge is adults-only.


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