Potage Bonne Femme

A classic French soup … delicious if carefully made.

2 oz butter
2 tsp sugar
1 lb potatoes
1 pt water
3 carrots
1 pt stock (chicken or vegetable)
2 large leeks
chervil or parsley
salt, pepper

Clean and slice the leeks thinly (including a very little of the green part) and dice the carrots. Melt the butter and cook the leeks and carrots for a few minutes until they are thoroughly coated in butter. Add the peeled, diced potatoes and stir for another minute. Add water, stock, sugar and salt (I advise not using entirely stock as the soup just ends up tasting of chicken instead of vegetables). Cook uncovered at a gentle boil, for about 25 minutes. Then either pass through a Mouli (medium blade) or liquidize. The Mouli is better in some ways as it eliminates fibres and makes a more velvety soup. Return to the pan, check seasoning, and add a little cream (only 2 tbsps or so, you don’t want to make it too bland). Serve garnished with a little chopped parsley or chervil.

This recipe is based on one from French Country Cooking by Elizabeth David.
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3 thoughts to “Potage Bonne Femme”

  1. This is a delicious soup. I used to make it directly from Elizabeth David’s book, which was excellent, but she uses only water, whereas using half chicken stock (as recommended in this recipe) is a definite improvement.

  2. I prefer this recipe without physical processing, and use only vegetable stock (which was probably not available when ED wrote her outstanding books).

  3. I dare say ED would make her own vegetable stock. I agree it’s good unliquidised as well, but quite different. It’s heartier and feels more like a meal, with some bread.

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