Note: This post was submitted by Christy, a participant in this year’s pilgrimage along the Via Francigena who was instrumental in the creation and execution of the recipe described herein on the third day on the trail in a rustic cabin on the shores of Lac de Champex.
Take stock of everything in the available kitchen. Ask yourself key questions such as “Do I have salt? Pepper? Oil? Random utensils for reducing vegetables from their whole selves into smaller units? A very large pot?” If the answer to all of those questions is yes, proceed as follows:
Walk to the nearest grocery store. Take care to not trip on the steps down the hill. Once you have arrived, after traversing crowds of similarly hungry hikers, determine what ingredients interest you most, and purchase accordingly:
- 1 head of garlic (peel and mince)
- 500 grams yellow onions (peel and dice—this job goes to the coldhearted)
- 750 grams carrots (peel and thinly sliced or diced—this job goes to the strong of heart)
- 1 kg potatoes (wash and cut into chunks—this job goes to the tall of heart)
- 1 leek (wash well, separate greens from white; dice white, keep greens long—this job goes to the coldhearted as well)
- 1 tbsp All Purpose flour
- 250 grams merguez
- 1 kg sweet sausage
- 1 kg frozen creamed spinach
- 1/2 tsp raclette seasoning (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
Prepare all ingredients by assigning tasks to willing members of the crowd based on temperament and comfort with dull knives.
As all will be hungry, hasten preparation time by splitting the cooking between multiple pots.
Pot 1: barely cover potatoes and rinsed leek greens with lightly salted water and boil until the potatoes fork tender.
In the meantime, in Pan 1: saute sausage until lightly browned; set aside to add to the soup at the end.
In Pot 2: add 1 tbsp of olive oil or rendered fat from sausages. Saute onions until golden brown, then add garlic and leeks. Saute another minute or so until fragrant, then add in carrots. Saute an additional minute, then add the flour. Mix together and saute an additional two to four minutes, then add water to cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until carrots are tender.
Once potatoes are fork tender, remove leek greens and then smash the potatoes against the side of the pot until about half have been broken up (this thickens the soup).
Add all of the potato + potato water to the onion/carrot mixture. Check seasoning. Add frozen creamed spinach, bring back to a simmer, and then add in the sausage. Check flavoring. If texture is too thick, add more water.
Serve with crusty bread, salad, and local cheeses.