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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tuscan Bread Soup

I've had this soup recipe set aside for some time now...thing is, I have no clue where it came from! I wrote it down on a scrap of paper once upon a time and it ended up in a massive folder of "to try" recipes. Well, I'm going through one of my heavy Tuscan dreaming phases...and I wanted to find a soup I hadn't yet tried for my SOUPER SUNDAY contribution, and this one reared its dreamy name in my face. So, what I did was revamped it so that I wouldn't feel like I was using somebody else's (but who's???) recipe without permission and this is what I came up with. Be sure to head over to Kahakai Kitchen for more great soups!

Tuscan Bread Soup 
Yield: ~4 svgs.

Crusty Italian Bread- 4 slices (1 ½” thick) 
Olive Oil- 4 Tbs. + more for drizzling on finished soup 
Onion, chopped- 1 large 
Garlic, minced- 2 Tbs. or ~6 cloves 
*Flour- ~1 ½ Tbs. 
Chicken Stock or Broth- 6 c. 
Heavy Cream- ½ c. 
Thyme, fresh chopped- 2 tsp. 
Sea Salt 
Black Pepper 
Parmesan Cheese, fresh grated- as needed for topping finished soup

1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Brush cut sides of bread w/ ~1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Place on sheet pan and bake until golden, about 7-10 minutes. Cut into cubes.

2. Heat remaining olive oil in pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to brown. Add garlic & stir for another 30 seconds or so. (*Add flour, stirring and cook-out for a minute or so. Add this step for a little more body to your soup. Skip it if you want it thinner.)

3. Add broth, cream & thyme. Bring to a low boil for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt & pepper to taste.

4. Divide bread cubes among bowls. Ladle soup over bread. Drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Eat immediately.

*The recipe I was originally working from calls to add the cream at the same time as the broth. Usually we're told not to add cream if we're bringing back to a boil. If you're using the method with the flour as a thickener, I would wait to add the cream until after the broth comes to a boil. Stir in cream and turn off heat after this step.

The bread soaks up the liquid and starts to break down very don't add soup to the bowl until you're ready to eat. The soup will store just fine tightly covered in the refrigerator...just keep the bread wrapped up seperately until you're ready to eat. Enjoy!