Provencal Vegetable Soup


This soup is flavorful and satisfying, yet still very healthy.


  • ¾ cup dried navy beans

  • 4 leeks (½ pounds), white and light-green parts only

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • ̇ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves

  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ̇-inch dice

  • 2 medium all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into ̇-inch dice

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 8 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, skimmed of fat

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¼ cup finely grated Gruyere cheese

  • 6 half-inch-thick slices country-style bread

  • ½ pound fresh spinach, washed, stemmed, and sliced into ¼-inch strips

  • ¼ cup fresh chervil, for garnish


  1. Place navy beans in a large bowl andadd water to cover. Let soak overnight inthe refrigerator.

  2. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Sliceleeks into 1/4-inch rounds; add to water.Let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes to rid them of dirt and sand. Lift leeks out ofwater and drain in a colander. Set aside.

  3. In a medium, heavy-bottomed stockpot,heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Addleeks and garlic; sauté until translucent,stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.Add parsley, rosemary, thyme, carrots,potatoes, and pepper. Cover and cook,stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes;lower heat if mixture browns.

  4. Drain beans, discarding soaking liquid.Add beans and stock to vegetables. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low;cook until beans are tender, about 40minutes. About 10 minutes before thebeans are done, add salt.

  5. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees. SprinkleGruyere over bread. Place on a cookiesheet; toast until cheese is melted andgolden, about 10 minutes.

  6. . Add spinach to soup; cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Divide soup among bowls andserve immediately, garnished with chervil,if desired, and Gruyere toast.

Cook's Notes

The beans can be quick-soaked instead ofsoaked overnight: Bring to a boil in asaucepan of water; boil for one minute, thenlet stand in the liquid for one hour.

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