Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Nani Soup or as she would have called it, Herb Soup

We are fortunate enough to have in our possession all of my mother-n-laws recipes. Each one hand written with such neat penmanship. You do not realize the importance of something like that, until the person is gone. What a beautiful gift to leave to your family. I am filled with joy each time I am able to pull out one of her recipes and make it for my husband. The look of 'comfort' that washes over my husbands face is something that words cannot describe.

One of the recipes that has actually become one of my go to recipes is 'Nani Soup'. Nani is the name my husband used for his Swiss grandmother, and this was a soup that she made. This is a rustic, farmer style soup. The kind of soup made up of whatever was still in the garden come fall. I believe she called it Herbe Soup. It is a super simple soup to make, and did I mention it freezes well? I do make a few batches in the fall to keep in my deep freeze for winter.

This soup lends itself to the possibility of various adaptations. Since I am a traditionalist I like to keep it simple.
Nani Soup
Half a head of Cabbage
2 Potatoes peeled and diced
1 Leek
3 Stalks of Celery including the leaves
3 Carrots
Celery Root
Parsley (as little or as much as you want)
1 Can of White Beans
1/2 cup Barley
It is really quite simple. I give everything a rough chop. The cabbage pieces will range from 1" up to 3". The potatoes I chop to about 3/4". The leek about 1/2", make sure to rinse the leek again after you chop it. They like to hold on to their sand and dirt. The celery, carrots, and celery root I take down to 1/2". I can't always find celery root, so when that happens I just move on minus celery root. I rinse the white beans two times before I use them. I am just not fond of the slime they come packed in. I do not buy quick cook Barley, if that is all you have give it a whirl. I always have regular Barley in my pantry, it is a great soup add in. Now many of you are thinking what is Speck? Well, speck is basically fatty ham. Very difficult to find here in the States. So, I have used everything from salt pork, to pork belly, to thick cut bacon. All will add great flavor to the soup.
Once chopped I layer it all in my Dutch Oven, then add water. Most of the time it is to full to put the lid on, stir it, or even fill it completely with water. So set your cook top to medium high to get a boil going. Once I have a boil I drop it down to maintain a slow boil and then I cook it for about 45 minutes. You will need to play with your water level depending on what size pot you use. When it all starts to relax and you can begin to stir it, add your salt and pepper.
I hope you all enjoy Nani Soup as much as we do.


  1. Yum, I can taste it now. Glad you told everyone what "speck" means. I'm going to try it. I made some of my vegetable soup last week. It sure hits the spot. Aunt Linda

    1. There is nothing better than a vegetable soup. We like to eat this after the Holidays when you are feeling the "bloat"...


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