Apply & Pear Salad

{ Tomato, Fennel, Chickpea & Bread Soup }

I am a big fan of blended soups. All winter long I make blended potato, carrot, butternut squash…you name it. I was hesitant when my mom shared this recipe with me. I made it and was thrilled at the combination of tastes…the tomatoes, wine, fennel! I’ve been craving it ever since. You have to try it!

{ ingredients }

  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, diced
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, cut along the center and sliced
  • 3 sticks celery, sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 28 oz. Italian plum tomatoes (I used diced)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp picked fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 1/5 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 slices of stale sourdough bread (crust removed)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 4 tbsp basil pesto (fresh or store bought)
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves

 { directions }

  1. I chopped the onion and fennel together in my food processor.
  2. Put the onion and fennel in a large pot with three tbsp. of EVOO and sauté on medium heat for a few minutes.
  3. Add the carrots and celery, and cook for a few more minutes, just to soften the vegetables, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for a minute.
  5. Add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute or two.
  6. Add the tomatoes and their juices, herbs, sugar, bay leaves, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
  7. While you wait, break the bread into rough chunks with your hands, toss with two tbsp of EVOO and scatter on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes on 350 degrees, until dry. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  8. About 10 minutes before you want to serve, put the chickpeas in a bowl and crush them a little with a potato masher or the end of a rolling pin – you want quite a rough texture, with some chickpeas left whole and others completely mashed. Add the chickpeas to the soup and leave to simmer for five minutes.
  9. Stir in the toasted bread, and cook for another five minutes.
  10. Taste the soup, and add salt and pepper liberally. Pour the hot soup into shallow soup bowls, place a spoonful of pesto in the centre, drizzle with plenty of olive oil and finish with a generous scattering of freshly shredded basil.
  11. Enjoy! Yum!

(Adapted from this recipe.)

Makes about 6 servings. Shown with my favorite Winter Salad.

{ Keep cooking in Love & Light! }

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