Saturday, November 22, 2008

Soupe Au Vin from the Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook

It is definitely soup weather, and for me, it is red wine weather. Why not combine the two and make a delicious and flavorful soup?

You get the bonus of that smiling face being in your kitchen with you for this meal.

One thing you will learn about if you read this wonderful cookbook is to prepare your 'Mise En Place'. This literally translates to 'Put In Place' but its just a french cooking term that means get everything set and ready to go before you start cooking. It is how chefs prepare their station before they start for the day. I have mentioned this many times on the blog, just haven't used the french term for it. I can't tell you how much it helps. So lets get started by gathering our ingredients.


This is one of the ironic parts of the meal. If you know anything about Anthony Bourdain you know he has a rather strong distaste for Ms. Ray. So I got a chuckle when I realized this is the chicken stock I pulled out of the fridge for the soup. Sorry Mr. Bourdain :)

Here is something he can agree with, BACON!

And the second ironic thing about my french Soupe Au Vin, the vin aint French. But it is tasty and that is all that matters. USE DECENT WINE here people, it is the main component of this meal so don't use anything that comes in a bottle with a handle.

You need bay leaves and some other herbs to prepare your Bouquet Garni. If you are giving me the WTF look right now, keep reading.

A bouquet garni is simply herbs wrapped up and tied together with string or placed into netting of some kind and then submerged in your soup. You can put them in a tea strainer as well. I just put mine on some cheese cloth and then tie it all up.

You will be removing at the end of the meal, so do yourself a favor and anchor it to the handle of your pot so you don't have to go on a fishing expedition later to retrieve it.

Next you need some beautiful leeks.

Cut the leafy green part off and discard it or save it if you like to make your own stock.

Leeks are sand filled buggers, and you don't want sandy gritty soup. I soak mine in a nice big bowl of water once they are cut to get any sand and grit out.

Cut them up as small as you want, I like big chunky bites in my soups, some people do not. That is one of the benefits of cooking for me, I can make it how I like it!

I didn't get slab bacon, but this works just as well.

Cut it up into nice little cubes.

Measure out your flower.

Chop your shallots and toss those in with the leeks. Don't they look gorgeous?

Get your wine going on the stove because we are ready to cook...(remember to reserve a bit of wine for when you serve the soup)

We have Mise En Place!

Start melting your butter in the dutch oven.

Add in the bacon. If you have a dog, count the seconds it takes before he or she starts drooling at your feet.

I wish you could smell this...check your wine, you want it to boil for about 5 minutes then get it off the stove.

Stir in the shallots and leeks and let them hang out for about 10 minutes.

They will start to soften and its going to smell amazing in your kitchen.

Stir in the flour and cook for a couple of more minutes and then whisk in the wine, chicken stock and throw the bouquet garni in there. Bring it to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer and let it cook for about 45 minutes.

After it has cooked season with salt and pepper and remove the bouquet garni.

Splash some raw wine on top and you are ready to eat. I loved this soup. Serve it with a nice chunk of crusty baquette and enjoy!


  1. Very Uptown! How long does this last you? Would the addition of some pasta hurt this at all?

    Being a Bourdain fan, I might have to try this!

    Jo and Stella

  2. I just love red wine - this soup is for me!

  3. Mmm.

    I love his books and watch him on tv sometimes but i've always wondered how good a cook he is, seeing as how he's always just eating stuff on the show.

  4. Very helpful with the pictures. Thank you. I believe I can try it now. Wish me luck

  5. I'm enjoying this soup right now! Mine looked just like yours. I even used pre-cut slab bacon. Served with Portuguese rustic rolls, it is wonderful. I did switch wines though, I had burgundy handy and used it instead. I've made quite a few things from this book. I even took it to NYC with me to have Omar, one of the chefs in the photo autograph it when I had dinner at les halles!

  6. How much is "a splash" of wine out of a litre? But then, if as TheCoffeeSnob says, Mr Bourdain never does any of his own cooking, he doesn't know.

  7. god bless you for posting this recipe in its entirety. I'd made this when I had the book from the library and had the urge again and thanks to your page I can!