If you are using dried beans put them to soak in cold water for 12 hours.
Wash and peel the various vegetables in cold water, without leaving them to soak for too long.
Put the soaked haricots on to boil, in
Cut the carrots, turnips, courgettes and onion into 1 cm (½ inch) dice and cut the French beans into 1 cm (½ inch) lengths (don’t try to dice these!) Slice the leek and celery finely. Put all the vegetables (except the haricots) into the stewpot with
While the soup is cooking, peel and halve the tomatoes. Press each half in the palm of your hand to squeeze out the pips and excess juice. Cut them into 1 cm (½ inch) dice. Peel the cloves of garlic and remove the stalks from the basil.
If you are using a mortar, crush the cloves of garlic and the basil thoroughly with the pestle. Add the diced tomatoes (6) and pound the whole mixture together until it is a fine paste without any lumps. Add the remaining
If you are using, a liquidiser, or food-processor, first purée the garlic and basil with
You now have three elements: the cooked haricot beans (3), the soup with its vegetables (4) and the ‘ointment’ of garlic, basil, tomato and oil (6). Remove the bouquet garni from the haricots. Add them with their cooking liquid to the stewpot containing the vegetable soup. Bring to the boil briefly and add salt if necessary. Away from direct heat, stir in the ‘pistou’ with a wooden spoon, without letting the soup re-boil. Carry it straight to the table, where the marvellous aroma will have preceded you.
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