white and creamy,

luxuriously rich


beautifully versatile (can be served hot or cold, summer or winter, with any number of garnishes changing the flavor).

I developed the Cream of Brie Soup for Food and Wines from France to serve at a convention. The organization wanted a dish that would showcase the rich, subtle flavor of Brie, yet have personality of its own and multiple uses. The soup was perfect, as garnishes contribute to flavor and change the nature of the dish, allowing it to enhance a variety of meals. I love to serve this soup at formal dinner parties garnished with seasonal fruits, and consider it sumptuous enough for Christmas brunch, especially if I can get my hands on white truffles for garnish.

Chef Rene Pianetti

The Cream of Bean Soup comes from Le Chef Coq Restaurant in Nuits-Saint-Georges, where Chef René Pianetti presides over the kitchen and serves food that is both contemporary and original. I found the soup on a summer luncheon menu disguised under the name “Gaspacho.”  The custard-smooth bean soup had nothing to do with gaspacho, except it was chilled, but it offered extraordinay flavor that was unique and distinquished. I like this soup best at casual seated dinners on chilly evenings and I sometimes serve it at Thanksgiving, garnishing with prosciutto, country ham, assorted grilled and diced sausages and even sautéed-slivered fennel, if smoked duck is not available.



lusciously unique,

dramatically different


extravagantly delicious.

Bon Appétit!


Yield: About 4 servings.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 leek, trimmed and chopped (use white part only)

1 celery rib, trimmed and chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

2 black peppercorns

Pinch ground cloves

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup whole milk

1 cup light cream

1/2 pound Brie, rind removed

Garnish suggestions:


Crumbled Roquefort

Crumbled Roquefort and diced pears

Fresh berries (perfect for a chilled brunch soup)

Julienne strips of steamed root vegetables

Sautéed apples

Sauteed mushrooms

Shaved white truffles

Toasted nuts and brown sugar (a dessert garnish)

Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Add leek, celery, thyme, bay, peppercorns and cloves; stir well. Cover pot and “steam” ingredients until they are soft, about 15 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over ingredients and stir until flour is absorbed. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in broth, milk and cream. Simmer 30 minutes. Cut Brie into chucks and stir into soup. Continue to simmer, stirring constantly, until Brie completely melts. Strain soup.

Serve immediately, garnished as desired. Or if serving chilled, cool soup at room temperature and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve chilled with appropriate garnish.


Yield: About 4 servings.

2-1/2 cups dry white beans (about 1 pound 2 ounces)


6 to 7 cups rich flavorful chicken broth

1 thick slice smoked bacon

1 carrot, peeled and halved

Several sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

1 large garlic clove, peeled and halved

1 cup heavy cream

About 3/4 cup buttery croutons

Hazelnut oil (optional)

Garnish suggestions

Thin strips of smoked duck

Thin strips of prosciutto

Thin strips of country ham

Sautéed sausage, diced

Cover the beans with cold water and let soak overnight.

Drain beans and put in a 4-quart saucepan. Add chicken broth, bacon, carrot, thyme, bay leaf, garlic. Gently simmer the beans until they are tender, about 3 hours. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Drain beans reserving broth. Discard bacon, carrot, garlic, thyme and bay. Mash beans. Stir in cream and enough (2 to 3 cups) reserved broth to make a thick soup. Pass soup through a food mill or strainer.

Serve immediately, garnished with croutons, a drizzle of oil and duck, country ham, prosciutto or sausage. Or if serving chilled, cool soup at room temperature and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve chilled, garnished with croutons, a drizzle of oil and duck, country ham or prosciutto.