Pépé Charles’ Tomato Soup With Vermicelli And Soup Meatballs

super easy


I don’t think there’s any recipe I’ve made so far that’s as near and dear to my heart as this one is as it’s my late grandfather’s pépé Charles’ soup recipe. Whenever we would go up to him on a Sunday, he’d always have this soup ready for us and I still remember how amazing it smelled in the house as you walked in the door.

When I was about 12 years old I once asked him to write me his recipe, and it’s one of the very few family recipes that I have unfortunately. I really wish I had asked all of my grandparents for some more recipes when I had the chance, but being a 12 year old you don’t really think about those kinds of things just yet of course. The recipe he gave me didn’t contain all the quantities though and he didn’t really write down how he cooked it either so it was a bit of a family effort trying to put the pieces together.

Pépé Charles

Pépé Charles

Pépé Charles
My brother had made the soup twice before as well so he was able to tell me what way he did it, and I texted my mom a couple of times for some help too. I tried it again and again over the next few years and have now finally come very close to what it used to be. As I was cooking it the entire house started to smell just like my grandfather’s house would on those Sunday afternoons, and although I only vaguely remembered the flavours, the second I put a spoonful in my mouth I was catapulted back into my childhood and I remembered exactly what it tasted like, it’s funny how food can do that, isn’t it?

Do let me know in the comments below if you have any childhood memories of a special recipe your grandparents made, and whether or not you were lucky enough to have the recipe written down for you to pass on to your children. I honestly can not wait to give the final recipe back to my mom so she can make it for my nieces and nephew whenever they come over for a visit.

Pépé Charles' Tomato soup with vermicelli and homemade meatballs
Pépé Charles' Tomato soup with vermicelli and homemade meatballs



Adjust Servings
1.5kg whole peeled tinned tomatoes San Marzano tomatoes are the best
1.5l water
1 large Maris piper (floury) potato
2 medium onions
100g soup vegetable mix, containing leek, carrot, and celery
100g celery
3 oxo beef stock pots or cubes
6 bay leaves
4tbsp herbes de Provençe
2tbsp thyme (or fresh thyme, half a tbsp of dried thyme is about one twig of fresh one)
100g vermicelli or the thinnest spaghetti you can find
600g pork mince
400g beef mince
1 large knob of butter
4 small-medium eggs
75g dried breadcrumbs


Rougly chop the onions
Peel the potato and chop it in rough chunks.
Mark as complete
Heat up a big knob of butter in a soup pot and fry the onion.
Add the tins of tomato, water, stock, all the herbs, bay leaves, and the potato. Season with pepper and salt. Simmer at medium heat for about 30 minutes.
Mark as complete
Meanwhile peel the celery and chop it finely.
Mark as complete
Mix both minces well, add the eggs and breadcrumbs and season well with pepper and salt
Mix everything together really well. The more you knead the mince the better!
Roll it into small meatballs and set aside in the fridge
Mark as complete
Blend the soup
Mark as complete
When you are about 15 minutes from serving the soup: Heat up some butter in a small frying pan
Add the soup vegetables along with the celery and fry for 5 minutes.
Add them to the soup along with the meatballs and vermicelli.
Mark as complete
Bring the soup to a boil and let it cook for at least 10-15 minutes
Mark as complete
If you live in Belgium: replace the beef and pork mince by the same amount of mixed pork - veal. It's the best mince mix for meatballs!

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