August 22, 2015 by dgarnett2013
Summery Ribollita: A Girl and her Greens by April Bloomfield
Serves 4 as a main
- 6 medium garlic cloves, 4 whole, 2 thinly sliced
- A small handful of marjoram leaves
- 110ml plus 3 tabs extra-virgin olive oil plus a few glugs for finishing
- 1 large Spanish onion (about 350g), finely diced
- 4 large celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 450g Swiss chard (about 1 bunch), leaves separated from the stalks, stalks finely diced, leaves torn into large pieces
- 2 tsps Maldon salt
- 3 dried pequin chillies crumbled, or pinches of red pepper flakes, plus more for finishing
- 900g cherry tomatoes, each pricked with the tip of a sharp knife
- 225g simple beans, including 565ml of their tasty liquid
- Scant 225g slightly stale rustic bread, such as filone, crust discarded, pulled into about 2.5cm pieces.
Combine the whole garlic cloves and marjoram on a cutting board and finely chop together until the mixture looks a bit like blue cheese.
Heat 100ml of the oil in a large pot over a medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, celery, carrot, chard stems, and 1 tsp of the salt. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes, then stir in the marjoram mixture and the chillies.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often near the end, until the vegetables are very soft, lightly browned and sweet, about 45 mins.
Meanwhile, pour just enough water into a medium pot to barely cover the bottom. Bring it to a boil, add the chard leaves and pop on a lid. Cook, stirring once, until the leaves are fully wilted and tender, about 3 mins. Drain the chard well and give it a rough chop. Wipe out the pot.
Combine the remaining 3 tabs of oil and the thinly sliced garlic in the pot. Set the pot over high heat and cook, stirring, until the garlic turns light golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and remaining 1 tsp of salt, then cover the pot and lower the heat to medium.
Cook, stirring once or twice, until the tomatoes soften and the skins begin to burst, about 8 mins. Uncover and mash the tomatoes for a couple of mins.
Pass the tomato mixture through a food mill into a bowl. Discard the solids. You should have about 450ml of tomato liquid.
Stir the tomato liquid into the pot with the onions, bring it to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 5 mins. Add just the beans (reserving the liquid) and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, just so the ingredients all get to know one another. Stir in the bean liquid, let it come to a simmer, then add the bread to the liquid in one layer.
Cook for another 5 mins or so until the bread begins to melt. Add the chard leaves and stir roughly to help the bread fully melt and thicken the soup. Cook just until the soup is warmed through.
If you’d like, add more crumbled chillies, salt, and a few good glugs of olive oil.
Eaten over a summery weekend in Camber with the Brownes