I love a good vegetable soup. I began with a recipe from Chef Bradley Ogden of the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, California, and started tweaking it to my taste. This is the latest incarnation, and I keep changing it all the time.

Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the carrot, onion, corn and potato, and cook uncovered for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the garlic, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and salt and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and add the tomato concassé, tomato paste, zucchini, peas, chestnuts and greens. Simmer gently for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Sprinkle on the chopped fresh herbs and simmer 1 minute. Add pepper to taste.

Serve in hot bowls, and sprinkle with Creole croutons.

YIELD: About 16 servings.


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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)