Country Soup-Rustic Corsican Soup for Winter

This is the most famous of all the Corsican soups. The soup is simply called minestra which in the Corsican culinary pantheon is simple soupe paysanne, country soup.  Although it’s called a soup, it’s meant to be so thick you could eat it with a fork. Shepherds would take some leftover with them into the mountains to eat cold. Besides the vegetables in the recipe below (the potatoes and tomato from the New World), some cooks also use carrots, celery, zucchini, leeks, and dandelion depending on the season.

Soupe Paysanne
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Corsican
Serves: 8
  • ¼ pound pork fat, chopped
  • 2 pounds boiling potatoes, such as Yukon gold, red, or white potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 small green cabbage (about 1½ pounds), cored and chopped
  • ¾ pound Swiss chard leaves (no stem), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ pound red kidney beans (about 1 cup), picked over
  • ½-pound piece ham hock or smoked bacon chunk
  • 1 large tomato (about 10 ounces), peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 6 slices day-old French country bread or ¼ pound lasagna sheets
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  1. In a large flameproof casserole or soup pot, cook the pork fat over medium-high heat, stirring, until there is some fat in the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes, then add the potatoes, cabbage, chard, onion, and garlic until the greens are wilted, about 5 minutes. Pour in the water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, add the beans, ham or smoked bacon, and tomato, and cook until the beans are tender, 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Add the slices of bread or lasagna and continue to cook until a spoon can stand straight up in the center of the soup and, if using lasagna, the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.


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