Tuscan vegetable & bread soup


5 cup chicken stock
1 lb chicken breasts, skinned
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic clove, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalk, diced
1 sweet green pepper, diced
2 cup cabbage, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
19 oz tomatoes, coarsely chopped, undrained
1/4 tsp pepper
10 oz spinach, frozen, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, fresh, chopped
1 sm zucchini, thinly sliced
19 oz white kidney beans, drained & rinsed
8 sl french or italian bread, stale
1 cup parmesan cheese

How to prepare

In large saucepan, bring chicken stock, chicken breasts and bay leaves to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove chicken and discard the bones.
Dice meat and set aside. Discard bay leaves. Keep stock warm
meanwhile, in large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. Of the oil over med heat, cook chopped onion, garlic, diced carrots and celery for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining oil, diced green pepper, chopped cabbage, thyme and rosemary, cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes
add vegetable mixture to stock in saucepan along with tomatoes and pepper, bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes
add spinach, parsley, zucchini, kidney beans and reserved diced chicken, cook for 5 minutes. Remove 1 cup soup and set aside
ladle half of the remaining soup into 24-cup dutch oven or casserole, cover with 4 of the bread slices and 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese
cover with remaining soup, layer with remaining bread. Drizzle reserved soup over top, sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. (recipe can be prepared to this point, cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.) Bake, covered in 350 f. Oven for 20 minutes (45 minutes if refrigerated), uncover and bake for 20 minutes longer (45 minutes if refrigerated) or until hot
garnish: ladle soup into large warmed bowls, garnish with drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Yield: 6 servings

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