Saturday, 7 January 2017
Baked Tuscan Bread Soup
Wee Bear and I have spent a lot of time over the years in Europe on vacations, whether it be skiing, cruising, road trips or just renting a house for a while. By far our favorite soup is a Tuscan vegetable soup. In Tuscany it is called Ribollita which in Italian means reboiled or reheated and simply refers to it as left over vegetable soup. It is delicious in cold weather and light enough in calories that I can safely put it into the "Figure Friendly" category, sans the bread! The recipe looks humble, however, this recipe blew us away! Just look at these pictures! The soup is gently simmered and baked and the bread ends up almost like a dumpling, breaking apart in the savory broth. Wee Bear had to stop between spoonfuls and proclaim how much he loved it!
Baked Tuscan Vegetable Bread Soup
adapted from my teacher Eva Kenly serves 8
1 1/2 lb. shredded cooked chicken, can be poached or a ready cooked chicken from the store
6 - 8 c. chicken stock
3 T. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 c. chopped cabbage
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 c. c. coarsely chopped or diced canned tomatoes, unstrained
salt and pepper to taste
2 c. spinach leaves, chopped
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
8 thick slices stale Italian or French bread
1 1/2 c. grated Parmesan
In a large heavy saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onion, garlic, carrots and celery for 10-15 minutes. Use low heat and cover pan for the first 5 minutes.
Add remaining oil, both peppers, cabbage and thyme, and again cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
In large saucepan, bring the 6 cups chicken stock to a simmer. Add the sauteed vegetables and tomatoes and bring to a boil., reduce heat to a simmer, cover pan, and cook for 30 minutes.
Add the spinach, parsley, zucchini, beans and diced chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Remove 1 cup of the liquid (if you need more add more chicken stock)and reserve. Season with Salt and pepper to taste.
Pre heat oven to 350 F degrees
Ladle half of the remaining soup into a 6 quart casserole or Dutch oven. Cover with 4 slices of bread and 3/4 cup Parmesan.
Cover with remaining soup, top with remaining bread, drizzle with reserved soup and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. *At this point you can refrigerate covered.
Bake covered for 20 minutes, uncover, and bake for another 20 minutes.
*If soup has been refrigerated, increase oven time to 45 minutes covered and 45 minutes uncovered, watching the bread brownness.
I remove the crispy Parmesan bread to serve, ladle soup into the bowl and top with a crispy piece of bread. Garnish with a sprig of Thyme!
Wee Bear and I love this dish so much, even when its 90 degrees, we will order when we are in Tuscany.