Raymond Blanc's vegetable and chervil soup 'Façon Maman Blanc'

Raymond Blanc

To celebrate their 25th anniversary Michelin-starred restaurant Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons chef patron Raymond Blanc shared some of his favourite recipes, learnt at his mother’s knee

Serves

4-6



Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely sliced
  • 2 medium leeks, outer leaves removed, thinly sliced and washed
  • 3 celery sticks, thinly sliced
  • 8 pinches salt
  • 2 pinches white pepper
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 large courgette, cut in half lengthways and thinly sliced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes quartered and roughly chopped

For the garnish

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (or sour cream)
  • 1 handful chervil, finely chopped

Method

This is a small tribute to "Maman Blanc" – and to "Papa Blanc" too as most of the vegetables would come from his garden. The choice of vegetables and herbs is completely yours. Chervil is one of my favourite herbs – it is very popular in French cuisine yet little used here. You can blend the soup if you like and a spoon of crème fraîche is always welcome.

  • On a medium heat, sweat the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and leeks in the butter for 5 minutes (don’t let it colour) to extract maximum flavour. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
  • Bring the water to a boil and add it to the vegetables (this reduces the cooking time and keeps the colours lively).
  • Add the courgette and tomato and fast boil for a further 5 minutes. Freshness is the key to success. It’s crucial not to let it cook for longer.
  • Whisk in the butter (or sour cream or both!) and add the chervil. Taste and correct the seasoning if required. Pour into a large tureen and serve.

Other variations: omit the sour cream and chervil and add pesto for a delicious pistou soup. Cooking the soup with a teaspoon of green curry paste, coconut milk, lemon grass, lime leaves, chilli and galangal would produce a delicious soup with flavours from Thailand.

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