The author of La Cuisine Paléolithique (Stone Age Cookery), Joseph Delteil, was born and brought up in the village of Pieusse, close to the Pyrenees, north of Limoux, a handsome medieval town where the most excellent, rich, dry and biscuity sparkling wine is made – Blanquette de Limoux. He states that as a child he only knew three dishes, soups, fricassées and roasts. Three – and that’s it. In the spring it was dried broad bean soup, in summer green bean, and in winter, cabbage.
This sausage-based winter soup is a member of a universal tribe. The Haut-Languedoc version would include a large smoked boiling sausage of pure pork flavoured with white wine and garlic. A version from the Pays catalan might include chorizo. Any winter vegetables can be added to the soup except, perhaps, beetroot – pumpkin is good, as are celeriac and chard or spinach beet. Haricot beans can also be included.
The flavour will be at its best if you use a good home-made chicken or duck stock. For the sausage a French saucisse de Morteau is ideal, but any good boiling sausage, even Polish kielbasa, will do and if it is smoked that adds more depth to the flavour.
It can be served as two courses, soup first, then the sausage and vegetables with gros sel, but I like it all together.