Potage Bonne Femme, a/k/a Refrigerator Soup

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(image courtesy of http://thegraphicsfairy.blogspot.com ) 

I’ve been cleaning out the fridge today. I’ve found two heads of cauliflower that need to be used (you did see my earlier recipe for the soup, didn’t you?). There are also some tomatoes, carrots, and a zucchini lurking about as well as a few potatoes. I have the better part of a tetra-pac of chicken broth. I think it’s time for some potage bonne femme. 

Sounds pretty fancy-schmancy, right? Well, I’m going to tell you a secret. Cuisine bonne femme means that the recipe has roots in thrifty French household practices, not restaurant food. It’s what you might have eating in someone’s home. It may be pureed to give it some body and creaminess, but it was made from the odds and ends of veggies that needed to be used up before they spoiled. The elegance comes from the simplicity.

Make a miripoix–chop up some celery, carrot, and onion. Saute in some butter or olive oil until soft, then add the broth and the the little treasures that you found in the drawers. You may add some rice or pasta. Adjust the amount of broth accordingly. Add salt and pepper to taste, maybe a bay leaf. Just let it simmer until the veggies are done. You may puree part of it as discussed above.    

This would work great as a first course, or with some cheese or hummus and crackers for a main. Or a salad. The possibilities are endless.

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