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Tomato Bread soup

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My mom loves bread. And she loves to send me homemade bread in the mail. One time I sent her a recipe that I thought she'd like (like this Honey Oatmeal Bread) and two days later I received a package in the mail from her filled with that same bread. It's always great bread, don't get me wrong, but too often the mold gets to it before I do.

So much bread, so little time (or stomach space) to eat it - what's a girl to do? I went to the place that always solves life's biggest problems for me: Google. After some trial-and-error searches and some digging, I found out that bread is an ingredient in a staple Italian dish: tomato bread soup. This concotion is akin to France's Ratatouille in that it's the 'poor man's' dish of Italy. It is ridiculously cheap to make (as in, it cost me 6 dollars to make a huge batch.) After taking a trip to the Wedge Co-op grocery store in Uptown to get tomatoes, basil, and onions, I was all set.

This recipe is pretty straightforward and I have to say I (pretty much) followed the rules. One thing that brought me a little trouble was that I didn't have any garlic. But, my friend who was in the kitchen with me at the time, was baking some garlic dip that her mother made. So I put a few tablespoons of that dip in the oil. Let me be the first to tell you that this dip wasn't lacking in flavor whatsoever, my eyes nearly watered everytime I swept a chip through it. It worked just fine. Another note: Whenever I make soup I always end up adding more 'fillers' which usually turns the recipe to a stew. I used about 6 slices of bread and a combination of different tomatoes (1 lb of diced cherry tomatoes and 1 lb of diced roma tomatoes.) Use whichever you like.

Directions

  • Four 3/4-inch- (2-cm-) thick slices peasant bread
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic,smashed, peeled, and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 14 large basil leaves, washed well and cut across into narrow strips
  • 1 3/4 pounds (790 g) plum tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch (.5-cm) dice
  • 4 cups (1 liter) chicken stock [for a vegetarian soup, use Garlic Broth]
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt, or less if using commercial broth
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • good olive oil, for serving

Directions

Heat the oven to 225°F (107°C; less than #1/2 gas mark; less than #1/4 British regulo). Place the bread directly on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, just to dry the bread out; do not brown. Break the bread into large pieces.

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the basil and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cook at a low boil for 13 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the stock, bread, salt, and pepper. Return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring and breaking up the bread with the back of a spoon, for 15 minutes. The bread should break down to a mush. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Serve with a few grinds of fresh pepper, and drizzled with some good olive oil.

Amount: 6 cups

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As always, I hope this inspires you to taste.

Comments

I just returned from Florence and fell in love with Tomato Bread Soup. Thanks for the recipe. Jo