Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Month of Soups: Bread Soup for the 99%

This is the soup for the 99%. Well actually, maybe not that high, but if you’re watching the budget, take some tips from the folk of Italy. This is definitely a folk soup, born of poverty, that can be delicious and nutritious with additional ingredients.

What is better than fresh baked, firm bread? Stale bread, you say? Yes, I do. Stale bread is a necessity for Bread Soup. Through the ages, inventive cooks have found many ways to use up the scraps of bread that have gotten hard and maybe a little off in flavor. Bread pudding, stuffing, croutons--only a few of the inventive ways to use old bread.

Bread Soup is another. For a thorough treatise on Bread Soup and recipes by region, take a look at Kyle Phillips’ series at This site gives many recipes for Bread Soup variants by regions of Italy.

The most basic Bread Soup recipe I found was to pour boiling water over bay leaves and a piece of hard, stale bread to soften it up for eating. I’m sure that fills an empty belly. But I like to delight the belly as well, and since I have more resources, that’s what this recipe is.

The bread is what really makes it, so stale or not, you need a firm bread, not a doughy one, because you want it to hold up to the boiling water. This is one of the fastest soups you’ll ever make!

Bread Soup (Serves 2)

2 cups water

1 T pepper

1 t salt

3 cloves garlic, sliced

8 Roma tomatoes, diced

2 handsful fresh spinach

1 T fresh basil, sliced thin (or 1 t dried basil)

2 stale ciabatta rolls, or other dense bread

4 T Asiago cheese

Boil the water in a medium pan with salt and pepper. Add garlic. At full boil, remove from heat and add tomatoes and spinach. Stir. Add in basil. Pour over bread in bowls. Sprinkle on cheese and serve.

DH’s Rating: 3 Tongues Up. He does like his meat. Still, he said for what it is, it’s good. What does THAT mean? He really liked that there were no leftovers to put in the filling-up freezer! Okay, gotta admit this wasn’t my favorite, either. I will try some of the soups on Phillips' site.

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