We are huge fans of the authentically French Bistrot La Minette and the cuisine of Chef Peter Woolsey. We dined at the restaurant last week, and were impressed to receive, with the bill, a slip of paper containing Chef Woolsey’s recipe for Soupe Parmentiere along with a gentle reminder to share with those in need.
This was a really adroit way of urging patrons to help others, particularly at this time of year.
Soupe Parmentiere is a traditional leek and potato soup, and may contain any number of winter root vegetables. It is named after French Army Pharmacist Antoine-Augustin Parmentiere, who was taken prisoner by the Prussians during the Seven Years’ War in the mid 1700s and offered nothing but potatoes to eat. Although potatoes were considered nothing more than animal feed at the time, M. Parm decided that survival was preferable to starvation, so he developed a soup using the potatoes, and the rest, as they say, is history. More on this interesting story here, thank you SugarPiesFood.com.
Although we have the luxury of a wider variety of dishes available to us than the imprisoned M. Parmentiere did, we love potatoes, and this soup does them justice. Here’s Chef Woolsey’s version:
1/2 stick butter
2 large onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 medium leeks, sliced
5 turnips, peeled and roughly chopped
8-10 potatoes, peeled if desired and roughly diced
1 celery root, peeled and roughly chopped
5-6 medium parsnips, sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
6-8 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper
1-2 cups light cream (optional)
1. Melt butter in large soup pot and saute garlic and onions. Do not brown.
2. When onions are translucent add leeks and saute until softened.
3. Add remaining vegetables and thyme, and cover with vegetable stock.
4. Simmer until all vegetables are softened and cooked through, approx 45 minutes.
5. Season with salt and pepper. Puree and add cream if desired.