Chickpea, tomato and bread soup

chickpea, tomato and bread soup

chickpea, tomato and bread soup

I haven’t blogged a soup for a while and, as you know, I LOVE soups. So the time has come to experiment again.  Yes, I know, in Italy probably this is not the right time of the year to make soups (31 degrees in Sicily, apparently! GRRRRR!) HOWEVER this is England and, as you know, you can go from winter to summer and back again to winter in the space of a few hours. Lately the weather hasn’t been so great. In fact the other day the thermometer in my car registered 5 degrees, to my utter dismay!!! INSANE, considering it’s blooming May! So, to cut a long story short, a good soup is never out of place in this country. So  here is an amazingly good one for you, courtesy of the mighty Ottolenghi.  It has been recommended to me by my sister in law Stefania (thank you!). It’s ideal to make if you have any stale bread (better if sourdough) knocking about. I hate throwing food away , particularly if I have made it (read bread) with my own fair hands. In the last year or so I have made canederli quite a number of times in order to use bread which has gone past its sell by date (see recipe here). But this is an equally good alternative. It’s a cross between a stew and a soup and very filling it is too! One bowl of it and you won’t need much else. Plus you will feel holier than thou as it is very healthy indeed!


1 large onion, sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
about 120ml olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled, cut lengthways in half and sliced
3 celery sticks, sliced
1 tbsp tomato purée
250ml white wine
400g can Italian plum tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped oregano
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
2 tsp caster sugar
1 litre vegetable stock
160g stale sourdough bread (crust removed)
400g freshly cooked chickpeas (canned are fine too)
4 tbsp basil pesto (bought or freshly made)
handful of shredded basil leaves to serve (optional)
salt and black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Place the onion and fennel in a large saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of the oil and sauté on a medium heat for about 4 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and continue cooking for 4 minutes, just to soften the vegetables, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato purée and stir as you cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute or two.
Next, add the canned tomatoes with their juices, the herbs, sugar, vegetable stock and some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover and leave to simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
While you wait, break the bread into rough chunks with your hands. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil and some salt and scatter in a roasting tin. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until thoroughly dry. Remove from the oven and set aside.
About 10 minutes before you want to serve the soup, place the chickpeas in a bowl and crush them a little with a potato masher or the end of a rolling pin; you want some to be left whole. Add them to the soup and leave to simmer for a further 5 minutes. Next add the toasted bread, stir well and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper liberally.
Ladle the hot soup into bowls. Spoon some pesto in the centre, drizzle with plenty of olive oil and finish with a generous amount of freshly shredded basil, if you like.


Related posts:

1 Response to “Chickpea, tomato and bread soup”

  • Confermo che è buonissima, anche se qui fa già abbastanza caldo, val la pena provarla senza aspettare l’autunno!!!

Leave a Reply