No, this is not my 28th attempt at making a vegetable soup! I simply used whatever I could scrounge up in the refrigerator and the pantry, and ended up and originally with 28 ingredients (OK, including the water). None of the amounts are critical.

I make this soup a couple of times during the winter, when I can leave the pot outside in the cold. With two people, one batch lasts for a week. 

  • Preparation & clean-up time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 1 hour
  • Makes 16 main-course servings.


  • 2 celery stalks, cleaned and chopped
  • 6 large tomatoes, dices (cut into quarters and eights)
  • Inexpensive soup tomatoes will do fine, no need for perfectly shaped plum tomatoes etc.
  • 5 medium size potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • Use waxy red or white potatoes that do not fall apart when boiled! They typically have a thin skin, so you don't have to peel them.
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and chopped
  • 250 grams (1/2 lb) mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 yellow onions, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 large carrots, cleaned and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large leek, top part of the green end removed, washed, halved lengthwise and sliced across
  • 1 small-medium sized celery root (celeriac, knob celery, F: céleri-rave, D: Knollensellerie), brown outside removed, sliced and diced
  • 1 bunch of fresh chervil, part of stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander, large stalks removed, coarsely chopped
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) barley (F: orge, D; Gerste)
  • 1 medium size can (300 grams net ; 10 oz) of sweet corn
  • 1 small can (150 grams ;  5 oz) of tomato paste (F: double concentré de tomates)
  • 1 tablespoon of Vietnamese fish sauce
  • I use Vietnamese nuoc mam, but Thai fish sauce is fine too (though much saltier!)
  • alternatively: 1-2 tablespoons (smoked) fish stock, or veal stock, or chicken, or duck stock; use home made fish stock if you can.
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of minced ginger ( = paste from a jar)
  • 4 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons dried basil
  • 4 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger root (ginger powder may be substituted)
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper or 1 tablespoon of Tabasco sauce
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons of "Chilli paste with sweet basil leaves":
  •  I actually prefer a can of Thai "Green Chili and Basil" soup. Your local Asian/oriental supermarket may carry it - mine no longer does. The main ingredients are Thai basil (note: "horapa" or Thai basil has an anis flavor; it does not taste like European/Mediterranean basil whatsoever!; never not substitute the latter for That basil!), cream of coconut, straw and oyster mushrooms, chili peppers, lemon grass, shallots, garlic, sugar, salt, bergamot leaves (similar in flavor to kaffir lime leaves), and "spices".
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Water
  • Some butter or olive oil for sautéing some of the vegetables


  • Stock pot (very large pot: 7.5 liter = 8 quart)
  • Frying pan
  • Optional: immersion mixer/blender (D: Stabmixer, Purierstab, F: mixeur plongeant)


  • Sauté half of the mushrooms in some butter until golden
  • Sauté half (or all) of the onions until golden
  • Sauté half of the leek until golden
  • Put all ingredients into the pot and add water until covered
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer until the potatoes are almost done (or just done, if you are serving right away)
  • Remove bay leaves (and kaffir leaves, if you used them)
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper
  • If you prefer a smoother consistency, use a handheld mixer/blender until you get the desired consistency


  • Perfect as main course in the winter


  • Also very tasty as a gazpacho - right out of the refrigerator, on a hot summer day!

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