Sweet quick read, great for a snowy day or a long flight or anytime you want to visit another world, very different from your own (unless, of course, you live in a rustic French village)…
What happens to a barber when the people of his village begin to age (and grow bald), and those who still have their hair decide to go to a more stylish barber in another town? He becomes a matchmaker, of course!
There are so many lovely laugh out loud passages in this book! The conversations between the barber and the baker on their fishing expeditions where they try and one up each other with the elegance of their picnic baskets. The feud between two old women (one of whom is the barber’s mother) that leads to an assault by overripe tomatoes… I could go on and on, but really you should just read the book!
Some winter day, make this rustic, French vegetable soup and open a bottle of French wine, and sit down and spend an afternoon with the barber and his quirky village. You won’t regret it!
Soupe Villageoise from Le Cordon Bleu at Home:
I halved the recipe and it made enough for two meals for one…
1 small head of cabbage
6 T unsalted butter
2 lbs of leeks
8 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper from the mill
1 cup vermicilli
chervil or parsley for garnish
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Remove and discard the large outer leaves of cabbage. Quarter the head and cut out and discard the hard central core.
Add the cabbage to the boiling water and blanch for five minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water again
Heat 3 T of butter in a large skillet over low heat, add the cabbage and stir to coat with the butter. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the cabbage is soft, but not colored, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the leeks. Cut off the stringy roots at the base of each leek. Cut off the upper two thirds of the green tops. Starting about 1 inch down from the root end, insert a knife thorugh the white part of a leek and cut through to the top of the green. Rotate the leek and repeat the process so that the leek has been quartered lengthwise but is still connected at the root end. Repeat with remaining leeks. Rinse the leeks well in cold water. Drain and slice thin. Melt the remaining 3 T of butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the leeks, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not colored. Add the cooked cabbage and stock. I veered away from the recipe here and added a sprig of fresh thyme
Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 40 minutes. Add the vermicilli
Season with salt and pepper and serve with the parsley garnish and some crusty bread!
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